Space, Monads, and Incompossibility

Citation:

McDonough, Jeffrey K. “ Space, Monads, and Incompossibility.” Edited by Donald Rutherford. Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy (Forthcoming).

Abstract:

This essay offers a novel account of how to understand Leibniz’s views on compossibility when applied to infinite worlds constituted by unextended, immaterial substances or “monads.” The first section sets the stage by taking up some essential questions about the relationship between monads and space. The second section argues that – with a better understanding of that relationship – it is possible to see how the so-called “packing strategy” can be applied quite directly, even intuitively, to monadic worlds and substances. The third section argues that thinking through the application of the packing strategy to monadic worlds highlights an important, neglected Leibnizian commitment and reveals surprising affinities between the packing strategy and recent cosmological interpretations.