Chapter published in:Controversies in the Contemporary World
Edited by Adriano Fabris and Giovanni Scarafile
[Controversies 15] 2019
► pp. 49–67
Locke and Leibniz on matter and solidity
In this paper I analyze the virtual debate between Locke and Leibniz on solidity as proposed in Leibniz’s chapter on solidity in his New Essays on Human Understanding. I first track the oddities of the dialogue presented in the New Essays’ chapter on solidity. In this virtual dialogue, Leibniz’s representative often digresses and sometimes overlooks or misrepresents some of Locke’s most important insights. I then argue that these oddities reflect Leibniz’s sentiment that a productive controversy on this issue cannot be conducted due to his substantial differences with Locke regarding solidity and the nature of matter. These differences are at most indirectly implied in passing in Leibniz’s chapter on solidity and to see them one has to consider other texts presenting Leibniz’s theory of matter.
Keywords: John Locke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, , theory of matter, corpuscularian theory, solidity, impenetrability, and resistance, dynamics and motion, force and matter, primary and secondary qualities, elastic and hard bodies
Hall, M. B.
Hankins, T. L.
Heimann, P. M. and McGuire, J. E.
Leibniz, G. W.
Rogers, G. A. J.
Scott, W. L.
Shell, S. M.
Westfall, R. S.
Yolton, J. W.