Browsing by Subject "Leibniz"

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  • Roinila, Markku (UNIpress, 2005)
    Leeuwenhoekin kokeilut mikroskoopilla 1600-luvun lopulla olivat G. W. Leibnizille suuri innoituksen lähde. Monadologia-teoksessaan Leibniz hehkutti keksinnön merkitystä ja antoi ymmärtää, että sillä löydetyt pikkuruiset eliöt todistivat hänen metafyysisen pluralisminsa oikeaksi. Hänen mukaansa "huomataan, että pienimmässäkin osasessa ainetta on kokonainen elävien olioiden, eläinten, entelekhioiden ja sielujen maailma." Näin Leibnizin ajatus elämän jatkumosta sai uutta pontta. Keksinnön vaikutus näkyy myös Leibnizin teoksessa Uusia esseitä inhimillisestä ymmärryksestä, jossa hän esittelee pienet perseptiot, joita voidaan pitää tietoteoreettisena vastineena pieneliöille. Tarkastelen esitelmässäni Leibnizin reaktioita mikroskooppiin ja sen antamaan uuteen kuvaan elämästä ja keskustelen joistakin Leibnizin filosofian piirteistä, joissa voidaan huomata uuden keksinnön vaikutusta.
  • Roinila, Markku (2009)
    The famous philosopher Leibniz (1646-1716) was also active in the (cultural) politics of his time. His interest in forming scientific societies never waned and his efforts led to the founding of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He also played a part in the founding of the Dresden Academy of Science and the St. Petersburg Academy of Science. Though Leibniz's models for the scientific society were the Royal Society and the Royal Science Academy of France, his pansophistic vision of scientific cooperation sometimes took on utopian dimensions. In this paper, I will present Leibniz's ideas of scientific cooperation as a kind of religious activity and discuss his various schemes for the founding of such scientific societies.
  • Roinila, Markku (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Filosofisia tutkimuksia Helsingin yliopistosta
  • Roinila, Markku (de Gruyter, 2013)
    In his early lecture note Versuch einiger Betrachtungen über den Optimismus (1759) a young supporter of metaphysical optimism called Immanuel Kant tested the Leibnizian optimism by posing some counter-arguments against it only to falsify them. His counter-arguments were very inventive and they feature often in modern scholarship on Leibniz. In this paper I will present Kant’s main arguments and evaluate them. I will argue that Kant’s understanding on Leibnizian optimism is little misguided and for this reason his own positive counter-argument despite its ingeniousness is problematic. His second solution to the problem is comparable to the doctrine of metaphysical optimism, but fails also for the same reason as the first one.
  • Helsingin yliopisto, Filosofian, historian, kulttuurin ja taiteiden tutkimuksen laitos; Roinila, Markku (EUROOPPALAISEN FILOSOFIAN SEURA., 2007)
  • Roinila, Markku (2013)
    The topic of disinterested love became fashionable in 1697 due to the famous amour pur dispute between Fénelon (1651-1715) and Bossuet (1627-1704). It soon attracted the attention of Electress Sophie of Hanover (1630-1714) and she asked for an opinion about the dispute from her trusted friend and correspondent, the Hanoverian councilor Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). This gave Leibniz an opportunity to present his views on the matter, which he had developed earlier in his career (for example, in Elementa juris naturalis of 1671 and Codex iuris gentium of 1693). In his 1697 letter to Sophie he did not explicitly take sides in the dispute, but formulated his own views on the topic in a theological manner, aiming to provide an account of disinterested love which would surpass the doctrines of both French theologians. In addition to presenting Leibniz’ early views on disinterested love and examining this alternative formulation of Leibniz’s his views on love, I will show that after the letter Leibniz gave this alternative perspective up and returned to refer to his earlier, more philosophical views on the topic, which suggests that he regarded them to be superior to the theological version, where the virtue of charity was related to the virtue of hope.
  • Roinila, Markku (Edizioni ETS, 2016)
    In §18 of Principles of Nature and Grace, Based on Reason, Leibniz says: ”Thus our happiness will never consist, and must never consist, in complete joy, in which nothing is left to desire, and which would dull our mind, but must consist in a perpetual progress to new pleasures and new perfections.” This passage is typical in Leibniz’s Nachlass. Universal perfection creates in us joy or pleasure of the mind and its source is our creator, God. When this joy is constant, we reach happiness and wisdom which is a kind of standing state of virtue, readiness to practice charity in the best of all possible worlds. However, it also indicates that our knowledge is never perfect. Perfecting our knowledge is a never-ending process which gives us joy in itself and motivates us to act in imitation of God. In this way some passions advance our knowledge and we can create ourselves a passionate habit of knowing more about the world and its perfection. In this paper I try to see this process of self-perfection from a cognitive rather than ethical point of view. While it is clear that in the final stage of wisdom we act mostly on our volitions which are founded on clear and distinct perceptions, it is less clear what cognitive status is to be attributed to our initial perceptions of perfection, our emotions and finally, the intellectual emotions which lead us to perfection and God. I will also reflect the role of the minute perceptions in our struggle for happiness. My argument is that a central cognitive role in Leibniz’s views on self-perfection is held by clear, but confused perfections which are subjective, undemonstrable impressions, shades, feelings. Therefore our ethical action is largely founded on passing, minute feelings rather than on deliberated conscious volitions, although the goal in Leibniz’s moral theory is to change this fact. My discussion is founded on several texts from Leibniz’s later philosophy, such as the discussion following from New System of the Nature and the Communication of Substances of 1695, Leibniz’s letter to Queen Sophie Charlotte of 1702 (also known as On What is Independent in Sense and Matter), New Essays on Human Understanding (1704), Theodicy (1710) and naturally Leibniz’s most important epistemological text, Meditations of Truth, Knowledge and Ideas (1684).
  • Roinila, Markku (Gaudeamus, 2003)
  • Roinila, Markku (Georg Olms Verlag, 2016)
    The Battle of the Endeavors: Dynamics of the Mind and Deliberation in New Essays, book IIAbstract for the 2016 Leibniz-Kongress, Hannover Markku Roinila In New Essays on Human Understanding, book II, chapter xxi Leibniz presents an interesting picture of the human mind as not only populated by perceptions, volitions and appetitions, but also by endeavours. The endeavours in question can be divided to entelechy and effort; Leibniz calls entelechy as primitive active forces and efforts as derivative forces. The entelechy, understood as primitive active force is to be equated with a substantial form, as Leibniz says: “When an entelechy – i.e. a primary or substantial endeavour – is accompanied by perception, it is a soul” (NE II, xxi, §1; RB, 170). What about efforts, then? One is certainly the will. In NE, II, xxi, §5 Leibniz argues that volition is the effort (conatus) to move towards what one finds good and away from what one finds bad and that this endeavor arises from the perceptions we are aware of. As an endeavour results in action unless it is prevented, from will (which is always directed to the good) and power together follows action. However, this is not so simple. Leibniz argues that there is also a second class of efforts: “There are other efforts, arising from insensible perceptions, which we are not aware of; I prefer to call these ‘appetitions’ rather than volitions” (NE II, xxi, §5; RB, 173). Although there are appetitions of which one can be aware, usually these appetitions arise from the insensible petite perceptions and are consequently affecting us subconsciously. Now, although all minute perceptions are confused perceptions, they are always related to pleasure and displeasure and also to perfection and imperfection. From this follows that there can be different efforts present in the soul at the same time: the will which is directed to apperceived good and several separate appetitions which lead to different goals, both to those which bring about perfection and pleasure of the mind (joy) and those which bring about displeasure and imperfection (sorrow). These efforts are not only in conflict with each other but may also be in conflict with entelechy. A typical case is perceiving a sensual pleasure. Our entelechy which is always directed to final causes (perfection) may be in conflict with several different appetitions which are related in different ways to the sensual pleasure in question. If our understanding is developed enough, our will resists the temptation posed by the pleasure (agreeing with entelechy), but if the temptation is too strong, the appetitions outweigh the will and the resulting action bring about imperfection and sorrow as it is related to imperfection. In this paper I will argue that deliberation in the human soul is a battle of different endeavors described above: the entelechy in the soul strives according to its law-of-the-series towards its telos (perfection) and the will accompanies it by being automatically directed to the good. This thrust towards the apparent good is aided or hindered by the appetitions which can be thought as derivative forces in the Leibnizian dynamics. Depending on whether the predominant appetitions are related to good or bad desires, the deliberation succeeds or fails in achieving the real good which is the goal of human deliberation. The successs can be facilitated beforehand by developing our understanding so that we are less easily swept away by the derivative forces (NE II, xxi, §19). A central role in this task is played by strong willing. As Martha Bolton has noted in her recent paper, an essential feature of the basic, standing endeavors is that they are continuous – although the power balance in the soul changes from moment to moment, something lingers from our previous volitions. That is why Leibniz argues that we pave way for the future deliberations by our previous voluntary actions (NE II, xxi, §23). In contrast, the appetitions are temporary, fliegende Gedanken as Leibniz says in NE II, xxi, §12. Therefore there is a constant, always changing power balance between two kinds of endeavors in the soul: primitive active force versus derivative forces. I will argue that the behavior of the forces in the soul can be understood with a vectorial model which is related to Leibniz’s early ideas of calculus of variations and which was anticipated by Arnauld and Nicole’s Port-Royal Logic. The central idea in the model is that the options are in tension towards each other and the ratio between them at each moment determines the consequent outcome. The proper relationship between the endeavors is not a simple balance, two options which exhaust each other, but a case where different efforts complement each other: “Since the final result is determined by how things weigh against one another, I should think it could happen that he most pressing disquiet did not prevail; for even If it prevailed over each of the contrary endeavours taken singly, it may be outweighed by all of them together.” Leibniz continues : “Everything which then impinges on us weighs in the balance and contributes to determining a resultant direction, almost as in mechanics” (NE II, xxi, §40; RB, 193). The different endeavors can be understood as vectors leading to different directions and the end result is a certain direction that deliberation takes. The dynamical tension between the different endeavors presents a situation where everything affects everything and the following direction, the resulting volition follows more or less automatically. In Theodicy, §325 Leibniz describes the deliberation as follows: “One might, instead of the balance, compare the soul with a force that puts forth an effort on various sides simultaneously, but which acts only at the spot where action is easiest or there is least resistance” (Huggard, 322) This kind of dynamical tension can be understood in terms of the calculus of variations where there are several possible variations available but where the dynamics of the situation results in the decision taking the “easiest” route which is more or less objectively good depending on the level of the deliberator’s understanding. In his comments to Bayle’s note L of “Rorarius” Leibniz says: “The soul, even though it has no parts, has within it, because of the multitude of representations of external things, or rather because of the representation of the universe lodged within it by the creator, a great number, or rather an infinite number, of variations (Woolhouse & Francks (ed.), ‘New System’ and Associated Texts, 101). This kind of deliberation is comparable to God’s choice of the best world with the difference that God’s understanding is infinite which again results in the fact that the choice is the best possible. Whereas in nature the easiest route taken is always optimal as nature is God’s creation, in men the goodness or badness of men’s actions is dependent on their state of wisdom, that is, how developed their understanding is. The more wise men are, the more metaphysical goodness or perfection follows from their actions.