Leibniz on the Soul’s Powers

My research project focuses on G. W. Leibniz’s views of the mind from a dynamical viewpoint. His  new science of dynamics did not concern only the body, as is usually thought, but also the rational  soul. Combining the Aristotelian doctrine of substantial form with dynamics, Leibniz held in his mature philosophy of mind (for example, in Nouveaux essais sur l’entendement humain, 1704) that the mind strives to the metaphysical goodness or perfection through the active force represented by the soul’s substantial form. Due to the large role of confused perceptions in the soul, creating inclinations to various and conflicting goals (derivative forces), the mind’s striving does not often succeed in reaching true goods, but this can be developed by learning and good habits. A book is planned where not only Leibniz’s full mature view of the soul is explicated, but also the development of his views is discussed. This is to show that the basic picture of the dynamical mind is already present in his first philosophical writings, such as Theoria motus abstracti of 1671.


Official profile in University of Helsinki: https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/markku-roinila
Unofficial profile in Leibnizian resources: https://www.mv.helsinki.fi/home/mroinila/ownstuff.htm