Volume 22, December 2012
On Unity, Borrowed Reality and Multitude in Leibniz
In this paper I argue that what has been called Leibniz’s “aggregate argument” for unities in things in fact comprises three quite distinct lines of argument, with different concepts being advanced under the name ‘unity’ and meriting quite different conceptual treatment. Two of those arguments, what I call the Borrowed Reality Argument and the Multitude Argument, also appear in later writings to be further elaborated into arguments not just for unities but for simples. I consider the arguments in detail. I suggest that one of the two, the Borrowed Reality Argument, is philosophically more promising and has the stronger evidence for being central in Leibniz’s thought as he argues for the existence of simple substances.