The Leibnizian Doctrine of vinculum substantiale and the Problem of Composite Substances

Marek Piwowarczyk
2017 Roczniki Filozoficzne  
Leibniz is famous for his Monadism-a metaphysical doctrine based on the thesis that fundamental bricks of reality are non-extensive simple soul-like substances (monads). Leibnizian Monadism is very radical in respect to composed things: they are not substances because they are dependent beings lacking per se unity. It seems the possibility of composite substances is completely excluded from Leibniz's mature metaphysics. Yet in his correspondence with Bartholomew Des Bosses, Leibniz introduces
more » ... eibniz introduces the notion of vinculum substantiale-an entity which is supposed to unify monads into a genuine substance. My goal is to present the conception of a vinculum 1 against a broader background of the problem of composite substances. I give a systematic interpretation 2 of a vinculum. According to it, a composed thing is twosided: it has two inseparable ontological structures. The first is the wholeparts structure and the second is the subject-properties structure. In the case of substances the latter structure should be ontologically prior to the former. A vinculum is a subject-of-properties (accidents) determining such a way of composition, which makes a compound entity a true substance. Since Leibniz still thought a vinculum unifies independent (existentially and with regard to activity) substances, he was inclined to separate a vinculum from the integrated monads and finally conceived it as an additional relatively independent monad-like 3 substance. Dr hab. MAREK PIWOWARCZYK -Katedra Dialogu Religii i Alternatywnych Ruchów Religijnych w Instytucie Kulturoznawstwa na Wydziale Filozofii Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego Jana Pawła II; adres do korespondencji: Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin; e-mail: piwowar1@ 1 "Vinculum" is translated as "bond," but I prefer to use the original word with English articles. 2 The results of my systematic analysis are in essential aspects convergent with the historical analysis provided by Brandon Look. 3 But he never said modifications of a vinculum were perceptions. A vinculum is not a soul-like substance. Its similarity to regular monads consists (paradoxically as it will turn out) in simplicity.
doi:10.18290/rf.2017.65.2-4 fatcat:mas2hnqx4vgxvp24apskvzlpae