This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Leibniz: I have long waited for this moment; now I can finally take the time to write to you and express to you my admiration and respect. For I must confess that in the last few months in which I have been privileged enough to sample some of your work, I have - naively and ignorantly as is wont for a student such as I who has received but an introduction into the vast field of philosophy - often criticised your writings. Nevertheless, while I believe that much of my criticism does stem from my lack of knowledge, it seems that some of it is also a result of the three hundred years that separate us. In this time, humankind has gained knowledge - some real, some imaginary - that has sealed, as it were, a view of the world that is quite different from the one prevalent in your times. I am far from accusing you, of course, of being a parrot of the ideas of your contemporaries; indeed, your singular, anything but orthodox desire to bring together parts of neoplatonism, modern materialistic notions such as Descartes', and the scholastic tradition is, to a large degree, what makes you so unique and admirable in my eyes. Before I go on to point out some of the differences in worldview between your and my times and introduce you to a new science called psychology, allow me to express my praise for you. I have spent many a moment pondering what it is that affords me such pleasure from your writings. Unarticulate as I am, I shall take recourse to a metaphor: your writings remind me of the paintings of the illustrious Dutch painter Breughel. Such fullness! Such detail! Such abandon to the richness of life! At the same time, such precision. Your ability to connect physics and metaphysics, to delve into the depths of mathematics as well as into the depths of salt mines, to write eruditely of language, moral questions, theology, your interest in the I Ching as well as the microscopic miracles of Leeuwenhoek, and to do all of this elegantly, courteously, mindful of others' ideas, with incomparable clarity, fill me with boundless awe and respect. Moreover, all of your ideas converge in an astonishing, although sometimes confusing and mysterious picture - which is why your work reminds me of Breughel: you are, to me, a wondrous thought artist. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I was, so far, unable to communicate my esteem for you. It is always difficult to say precisely why one prizes a work of art but often impossible to prove its magnificence; it is so much easier to lay a small element of it under one of those marvellous microscopes and find fault with the tiny components displayed under it. Having said this, let me return to the differences between our times. This could horrify you: we do not believe in God. Now this is not quite correct, for many individual women and men do believe in God; however, those who are perhaps the equivalents to your Schoolmen have decreed that God has no metaphysical, physical or any other kind of use and reality. I will not here recount the historical unfolding of what would surely be a heinous aberration in your opinion; however, I will attempt to describe to you today's circumstances. Let me begin by introducing you to this new field of investigation called psychology.
Sadly. quite by accident. perceptions. Here is a much better explanation: billions of years ago. human beings developed. water. if by [God's] command things were formed in such a way that they were rendered appropriate for fulfilling the will of the command. that God is the ultimate sufficient reason. questions you have also written about: actions. this "nature" (although you would probably vehemently disagree with some details of the evolutionary hypothesis. This new science attempts to illuminate.iii ***** get appropriate bibl reference re stich***** To your ideas that God is rational and created maximal order. and that the rational human animal is one of them. empirically demonstrable events and things are subordinate to metaphysical (and . Out of these small beings. as you do in your comments on your communications with the Reverend Father Michel Angelo Fardellaiv. light." Are you alluding to a similar process in your words regarding spermatic animals in your Monaldology?i I am inclined to think that in principle. there was nothing but mud. not be a reason for anyone's or anything's existence... You have reasoned thus about Creation: that God has created all humans. or where you call it an entelechy or monad. a form or a force. the first act. that all eternal truths exist in God. So for instance. you might be amenable to such an idea since you say that . Gradually. or the primitive form existing in substances. But the practitioners of this science. Your discussions of the soul would be a nearly unsurmountable problem although psychologists may be lenient and translate "soul" into "mind" (although some of them even deny the existence of mind!) But where this translation is not done easily.Do not hasten. etc. simple beings developed. to the conclusion that it is taken to be what its name says. Note also that the psychologists say they do not know of souls. with changes in the air. leave God wholly to the side. Your opinion on these matters could not offer a more conspicuous contrast. is incorporeal and must not. But your proof is most often shaped after the manner of the rationalists and hence you declare that physical. at the very least. something that we usually call by the name "nature. apperceptions. the psychologists. It is not a science of the soul but is most commonly referred to as the science of "behaviour". The soul has become an object of scorn: if it exists at all.. the first active faculty". among other things. that nature is the workmanship of God. to your conclusion that rational souls are created in the image of God. saying that since no-one has yet seen God he must surely not exist or can. ideas. etc. therefore. larger and more complicated beings developed. only the more charitable ones would demand physical proof or at least an empirically derived one. where you declare soul to be a "substantial form. they would just turn away from you.."ii Perhaps you would admit evolution could constitute this "efficacy". particularly the idea that some changes in nature come about entirely by accident). be studied. they would only shake their heads. in the sense that He has selected from all the possible worlds the one most perfect world and called it forth into being. small. your brilliant a priori reasoning is worthless to these new psychologists.that is unprovable metaphysics and religion. knowledge. however. etc. then already we must admit that a certain efficacy has been placed in things. until. they would reply with what they call the theory of evolution: "We do not know souls but if you mean to say that humans have been created in the image of God .
It appears he followed your thoughts enough to agree with the matter of petites perceptions but he did not admit that you had solved the mystery of the harmonious correlation between body and mind. for instance. a most illustrious writer and admirer of .v I myself am anything but immune from materialism and empiricism. This slavery to the corporeal. also used influentially by M. The two of you can find nothing in common here: they do not admit any proof that is incorporeal. M. while what ultimately.Leibniz.000 of those letters containing references to you!). who attained fame through his book. those flavours. petite perceptions and apperceptions have been an important theme throughout the history of psychology (which. Weber. furrowed deeply with mechanistic ideas about the most sublime concepts. Messrs. is only the incorporeal. This dual tendency continued. he preferred . I do not know whether M.viii Associated with the notions of "apperception" and "petites perceptions" is another idea.Goethe. He employed your nomenclature and notion of apperception but just as M. more effectual than one thinks.Fechner termed his field "psychophysics" and hoped that it would solve the mind-body problem. this materialism. counts for you. Your accounts of the nature of perceptions. not even by psychologists (among who I am so misguided as hoping to count myself soon).Hegelix who again learned much from M.who officially founded the field of psychology and his use of your word "apperception" as that which enters attention. written in 1869. is one of the most important characteristics of the times I live in. Herbart and Fechner based much of their work on similar considerationsvi. This emphasis on the supremacy of metaphysics leads you naturally to offer a priori proofs. efficient cause won the upper hand in the end. for example with M.therefore incorporeal) entities. But dear M. namely monads or souls.Wundt . perhaps because it was more suitable to his aim of establishing a discipline as successful as physiology .Fechner believed the cause of this relation to lie in pre-established harmony. our new Schoolmen will pay you no heed..Fechner. clear in the aggregate but confused in their parts"vii He called petites perceptions "negative sensations" and believed that these sensation stand in direct relation to the stimulus that excites them. those images of the sensory qualities. must have received at least indirect influence from you through his wide readings of M.) M.for the purpose of his experiments at least.. incidentally. must have found it true when you said that "these tiny perceptions are . the "unconscious". M. Since a large proportion of your a priori proofs are ultimately grounded in the existence and other properties of God. let me also tell you that your ideas have not been completely forgotten or repudiated (far from it: a new mode of communication whereby men and women exchange letters not via the post but through the ether. became a separate discipline around 1890 but whose foundational ideas are traced back as early as to philosophers and physiologists of the mid 1700s).a certain eminent French mathematician's interpretation of the relationship between mind and body. along with my ignorance.Fechner in the 19th century. or in direct causation (be that as it may. have been the main reasons for my criticisms of you. and entitled The Philosophy of the Unconscious. Both gentlemen have immediate or second-hand connections with you. They make up this I-know-not-what.Hartmann.Hartmann. strictly. as you propose.Herbart. recently listed almost 9. and M. and these infections.
has lost any significance. that the pain causes the sadness. as many would say . you claim. and that the .a thought that appears to be altogether consistent with your system.Freud is that both of you are most well known for proposing an incorporeal substance . All these ideas are antithesis to the received views in psychology. when I feel sadness while my body experiences pain. rather it is that God has created the world without flaw. But this is just an appearance.your workx. More importantly for the history of the unconscious. you say. so that these two events are perfectly parallel. M. and M. This explanation is simply that one body does act on another. is said to have been greatly influenced by your work and.. organisms unfold through a predetermined plan. my soul's apperception of the movement coincides perfectly with the movement my body makes but my soul does not command or cause my body to move.Darwin. Again. You say. their actions and perceptions are only correlated. etc. that not only body and souls do not act on each other but no substance whatsoever acts on any other substance. in the Preface to the New Essays for instancexiii. nevertheless it shows that these ideas about intangible souls hold the eternal fascination of many good people. external stimuli..and one that is scandalously incorporeal. M. These new views arise out of a conception of naturalism that has received strong influence by M. that God has preestablished in the body and the soul such perfect harmony that the perceptions of the soul and the motions of body appear to be one. the dominant monad.Freud. it is not. The concept of the unconscious was then fully explored by M.unconscious . for example in On Nature Itselfxiv."xii One interesting parallel between you and M.Freud have been the object of so much ridicule is deplorable. strictly speaking. the proponent of the theory of evolution. cannot cause a monad to "see" anything). for example. These observations stem from your convictions that there are no extrinsic denominations and that.Freud at the beginning of this century. Various other phenomena follow from these convictions. a notion of pre-established harmony would still meet with vehement objection on the part of the psychologists. that a perception can only come from another perception. as you often insist. Similarly.Herbart. But even if there were no God-creator. incidentally.and not apperceived).as one of the most important elements of human nature: you. which is individuated by the traces which these perceptions preserve of its previous states. he informed us that no idea is ever entirely annihilatedxi . he made it the cornerstone of his psychology and philosophy. In this view God. that monads are windowless (that is. Let me now turn to your doctrine of pre-established harmony. indicate and constitute the individual. when I move my foot. That both you and M. You maintain that the soul has an awareness of all perceptions and that time is nothing but a relation . the id-ego-superego triptych (which depicts three different appetites of the human soul and of which most parts are only perceived . they would tell you that they have a much better explanation (and part of the reason why they think so is that it adheres to the law of parsimony. For example. as mentioned earlier in my letter. a dictum of immense importance to them and which is similar to Ockham's razor). had one unusual goal in common with you: he desired to develop a calculus of the mind.from these two opinions one can easily deduce that a thought that existed once in the soul will always exist there. because neither the soul influences the body nor the body the soul.Freud would have fully supported your words that "these insensible perceptions . who lived from 1776 to 1841. nature has gained all of itxv.
Indeed. If there is this pre-established harmony.we still must explain how this causation happens. as did the Frenchman alluded to earlier. hurt their paws. our soul knows of the pre-established harmony and denies that one substance can act upon another. you imply that strictly speaking. They observe that one horse trader in the market sells more horses than others and conclude that the presence of one of his maidservants pleases the eyes of passing noblemen. in a manner not unlike your early thoughts on the phenomena of motionxvii. for psychologists this is not as much an explanation as it is a given or a deep conviction.Locke's influence: psychologists are brute empiricists. and to at least some degree rightly so because that is what we observe? Should this reality of the pre-established harmony not find its agreeable counterpart in our understanding? After all. M. which causes them to by more horses. and because of this. This is quite different from what you contend. humans must act in ways similar to animals. perhaps because I lack a full understanding of your doctrine. some other entity's) most perfect design. The noblemen would then buy as many horses as is necessitated by the organized unfolding of the universe according to God's (or. a bold claim: why could the cause not lie in any of the other myriads of influences acting upon the horse buyers? . or pre-established harmony? . forced innumerable rats to run through mazes."xviii There seems to be some reason in this: even if we do admit that the higher amount of horses bought from this specific marketeer is caused by the presence of the maidservant . and this in a quest to prove that his often disagreeable ministrations prompted them to act in certain ways. And since I have already mentioned animals. Nevertheless. They reason that since humans have developed out of non-rational animals. albeit to varying degrees of clarity. and the difficulty which at least I personally have in answering them.and this in itself is. should we not suppose that God is no deceiver? I assume that when you say that every substance expresses every other part of the universe. You say in a letter to M. and swim through little rivers. if you so allow. lead me to lend an ear to the explanation that lies in pre-established harmony and a pre-established overall organization of the universe.Skinner. But why would God in his omnibenevolence be so cruel as to leave all but a very few elect in darkness about such an important matter as causation. What exactly is it that flows between the maidservant and the noblemen that necessitates the noblemen's buying more horses? These questions. He then argued that humans' actions are prompted by the same mechanisms! Now. while M. why is it that our normal human understanding should be so averse to grasp it? Why do we intuitively insist on assuming that A causes B. the marketeer's and his maidservant's acts would harmoniously coincide and coexist with those of the noblemen. insight and true concern for human happiness.Skinner himself had little interest in what mode of causation is represented by this prompting. a gentleman distinguished by ingenuity. strictly speaking. here is something that will surely surprise you: these psychologists even spend much of their effort on the study of rats.body acts on the mind and vice versa.deVolder that you do not "admit the action of substances on one another since there appears to be no way for one monad to flow into another. I entreat you to understand that I also have some difficulties with it. This conviction stems from M. many psychologists and most psychology students find that such experiments imply that A can directly cause B to happenxvi.
"But this does not explain perception. This you deny. they see it working and often enough they see that certain workings in certain structures correspond to certain acts or reported apperceptions on the part of the person whose brain they investigate.do you think it is possible? Could. very likely. 18 of the Monadology. under microscopes and similar apparatus. It could be said that the psychologists also deny it but for an entirely different reason . would you then admit that it could think? And that. I have taken the liberty of loosely equating . They see the "machine" (and indeed. this concerns the question whether the corporeal substance or aggregate of substances can influence the soul or dominant monad. I am anxiously awaiting your reply.Einstein was not a psychologist and it would be false to say that a possible identity of matter with force is the reason for the psychologists' mind-body monism. where you point out that a soul "has" or "is with" perception. and either there is no incorporeal substance such as the soul attached to this machine. God be replaced by a super-monad? Could that super-monad then still be omnibenevolent and the ultimate reason for everything? Could your view of the world still work if there was no such super structure at all? I should also appreciate your thoughts on a world devoid of souls.they declare themselves to be mind-body monists: persons. Undoubtedly this sounds familiar to you: this is the machine you fancied yourself inspecting in para. M. body and soul are one and the same entity. M. on the basis of the foregoing. and if indeed there is such a thing as the soul (in which case it would be called "mind" or "consciousness"). of course. This is. they see its structure. If matter is active. they do see it). 17 of your Monadology. the corporeality of bodies and the soul might be one entity? Incidentally. closely connected to the matter I just discussed because in any event it concerns the question whether one substance acts upon another. I do not wish to offend you by suggesting that you should convert to such heresy but I know you are a reasonable man . they say. what is perception? This is suggested in the end of para.but it so happens that one M. are but complicated animals (some also liken them to machines).Lastly. 17 and in para. it is a possible. Most psychologists believe that mind or consciousness is expressed in corporeal forms in the brain. I ask myself whether if you saw this affair through the eyes of one of my contemporaries. the same. "all I can see are parts that push one another. Nevertheless. by means of myriads of tiny connections that take place in it through extraordinarily quick chemical and electrical workings. You say that matter cannot think because it is inert ."xix Most psychologists are not troubled by this.Einstein proposed that matter and force (he used the terms "inertial" and "gravitational" matter) are. I should like to communicate to you psychologists' view on the interaction between mind and body. Are you implying that perceptions are properties of souls? Whatever your answer may be.Einstein's ideas might make the identity of brain and mind more plausible to you.Leibniz. for example. the soul) can act upon another human. not unlikely explanation to the question: what are the constituents of perception? You were perhaps more concerned with the question." you said. you may be more amenable to the identity of body with soul (and hence thinking matter) than you were three hundred years ago. This is enough for most of them. and vice versa. M. Whereas earlier I addressed the question whether one human (which corresponds to an aggregate of substances connected to a dominant monad. I am particularly eager to hear what you think of metaphysics devoid of God.
and who has been good enough to offer to pass this communication on to you.. if you cannot find this author's communications in your present abode.D. "mind" evokes the concept of reasoning. For now I would like to thank you for your attention. This latter work concerns itself. My thanks go also to the good M. I would be most interested in your reaction to M.xxi And the questions go on. by which time he had turned less mechanistic. I should warn you. written in 1930. Next . is self-sufficient. or be it an opinion such as Bunge's that Every concrete object is self-acting. particularly his 1895 oeuvre Project for a Scientific Psychology.and I hope you are patient with my insatiable requests .Freud's works. 1716 A. "consciousness" evokes thoughts about presence and awareness.But do not let me trouble any further. and that I should therefore be able to communicate with you sooner or later.I would like to hear your opinion on how your doctrine of pre-established harmony compares with the various views on causation that have sprouted in this century. however. that Freud's and your views on this topic could not be farther apart. The word "soul" evokes in us ideas of aliveness and immortality. Concrete things [does that include souls?] are non self-sufficient because they actually stand always in interaction with an unlimited number of other existents. What would you think of a machine that talks and appears to think like a human being? What would you think of Einstein's ideas? . that this is not completely satisfactory. and that "la vaine recherche des causes" be given up altogetherxx. of course. but nothing in the world. with religious matters. among other things.Hanson who has patiently instructed us students in the mysteries of your work.your concept of "soul" with the contemporary concept of "mind" or "consciousness" but we both know. save the world as a whole. knowing that you have not really been annihilated on November 14. . and The Future of an Illusion. a quantitative examination of the operations of the brain and nerve systems which expounds a rather mechanistic view. I shall be honoured to dispatch samples of them to you. be it the positivists who want to replace causation with laws. Furthermore.
a conclusion and references] . what's missing is a brief discussion of the Hoeffding Step.[this is almost the end of it.
176 Leibniz. yourself. 1923). 296 ibid. . it is. 30 Leibniz.. . 72 & 82." (Nancy Harrison. a tabula rasa in the sense that some of our simple ideas and almost all of our complex ideas are the resultants of the external world acting upon our faculties and not that "all the thoughts and acts of our soul come from its own resources" as you say (Robert Merrihew Adams "The Locke-Leibniz Debate" in Peter Stich. Newton and.Locke.: Fischer. p. Thomas Hardy Leahey. by and large.. Kleine Weltgeschichte der Philosophie [Frankfurt a. The possibility that God might be the creator of evolution is of no importance to psychologists. Leibniz. 280 xvi xvii xviii xix xx . On Nature Itself para 6. 245 Leibniz. Leibniz. their common credo that the minds of infants are. Hans Joachim Stoerig. 381). Georgi Schischkoff. A History of Modern Psychology (Englewood Cliffs: Pretice ii iii iv . Philosophisches Woerterbuch (Stuttgart: Alfred Kroener. Innate Ideas.g. Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Muenchen: dtv. 38) Leibniz. they have been very much influenced by M. "The issue of drawing conclusions about causality has aroused much philosophical debate. 215 Mario Bunge. ed. You have been referred to as the "Father of German Enlightenment" (e. 1983) paras. it started with men such as Descartes. G. . It is now traditional in scientific experiments to conclude that one variable has caused a change in another when there appears to be no other reasonable explanation for an association between them except (1) that causal relationship or (2) pure chance or accident. 105 . p. In fact. p. Causality and Modern Science (New York: Dover. . Understanding Behavioural Research [Belmont: Wadsworth. 33-35 . 296 Leahey. . indeed. 159 . 155 x xi xii xiii xiv xv . 1991). Philosophical Essays (Indianapolis: Hackett. 1987]. for example. . 36-37 viii ix . . In fact. 278 . v vi vii Leibniz.i .W. 40) . Oswald Spengler. 1979). 222-223 Leibniz.Leibniz. . . . 1994). The Enlightenment was the beginning of a mass-conversion away from God. Hall. 1979].M. Preface to the New Essays. . 468 Leahey.
195-196 . Bunge.xxi .