During the last year of his stay in Paris (1675-76), Leibniz wrote a number of private papers on metaphysical themes, many of which have been collected by the Academy Editors and published under the title De Summa Rerum. Although these writings are often fragmentary and not systematic, they have recently captured the attention of some scholars, for they show interesting ideas and hypotheses, which are still far from Leibniz’s mature thought. In this paper, I will focus on one of these provisional hypotheses, i.e., the universal vortex, which was entertained by Leibniz only for a brief period (February- March 1676). I will present some texts in which Leibniz made use of the image of the universe as a great vortex, and I will give a brief account of the recent debate on its presumed pantheism (section I). After focusing on possible theoretical and historical sources of such image–particularly Athanasius Kircher (section II), René Descartes and Democritus (section III)–, I will turn to the analysis of pantheistic echoes in the philosophy of the young Leibniz. I will argue that some of his metaphysical doctrines are still incomplete, at that time, i.e., the universal harmony, the mindbody relationship, and the theory of substance (section IV). These doctrines, I believe, are at work in the great vortex theory of 1676. Here, by identifying God with a mind, and the world with a body (section V), Leibniz drew the pantheistic conclusion that as each mind vivifies and substantiates its own body, so does God vivify and substantiate the whole world.

“Totus Mundus unus Deo vortex” Pantheistic resonances in Leibniz’s idea of the great vortex in 1676

emilio de tommaso
2015

Abstract

During the last year of his stay in Paris (1675-76), Leibniz wrote a number of private papers on metaphysical themes, many of which have been collected by the Academy Editors and published under the title De Summa Rerum. Although these writings are often fragmentary and not systematic, they have recently captured the attention of some scholars, for they show interesting ideas and hypotheses, which are still far from Leibniz’s mature thought. In this paper, I will focus on one of these provisional hypotheses, i.e., the universal vortex, which was entertained by Leibniz only for a brief period (February- March 1676). I will present some texts in which Leibniz made use of the image of the universe as a great vortex, and I will give a brief account of the recent debate on its presumed pantheism (section I). After focusing on possible theoretical and historical sources of such image–particularly Athanasius Kircher (section II), René Descartes and Democritus (section III)–, I will turn to the analysis of pantheistic echoes in the philosophy of the young Leibniz. I will argue that some of his metaphysical doctrines are still incomplete, at that time, i.e., the universal harmony, the mindbody relationship, and the theory of substance (section IV). These doctrines, I believe, are at work in the great vortex theory of 1676. Here, by identifying God with a mind, and the world with a body (section V), Leibniz drew the pantheistic conclusion that as each mind vivifies and substantiates its own body, so does God vivify and substantiate the whole world.
978-605-4841-95-0
Leibniz, Spinoza, Pantheism, Vortex
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/306104
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact