Volume 15, December 2005
Stefano Di Bella
Leibniz’s Theory of Conditions
A Framework for Ontological Dependence
The aim of this paper is to trace in Leibniz’s drafts the sketched outline of a conceptual framework he organized around the key concept of ‘requisite’. We are faced with the project of a semi-formal theory of conditions, whose logical skeleton can have a lot of different interpretations. In particular, it is well suited to capture some crucial relations of ontological dependence. Firstly the area of ‘mediate requisites’ is explored - where causal and temporal relations are dealt with on the basis of a general theory of ‘consequence’.
Then the study of ‘immediate requisites’ is taken into account - a true sample of mereological inquiry, where Leibniz strives for a unitary treatment of part-whole relation, conceptual inclusion and inherence. Far from simply conflating these relations one with another and with causality, therefore, Leibniz tried to spell them out, while at the same time understanding them within a single conceptual framework.