This essay offers an account of the relationship between extended Leibnizian bodies and unextended Leibnizian monads, an account that shows why Leibniz was right to see intimate, explanatory connections between his studies in physics and his mature metaphysics. The first section sets the stage by introducing a case study from Leibniz's technical work on the strength of extended, rigid beams. The second section draws on that case study to introduce a model for understanding Leibniz's views on the relationship between derivative and primitive forces. The third section draws on Leibniz's understanding of the relationship between derivative and primitive forces in order to shed light, in turn, on his understanding of the relationship between extended, material bodies and unextended, immaterial monads. The fourth section responds to a likely objection by arguing that Leibniz's monads may, in a perfectly reasonable sense, be spatially located.
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Jeffrey K. McDonough; Leibniz and the Foundations of Physics: The Later Years. The Philosophical Review 1 January 2016; 125 (1): 1–34. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-3321711
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