Daniel Garber

Leibniz and Materia Prima: Force and Monadic Perception

In his middle period, Leibniz proposed a radical reinterpretation of scholastic materia prima. In the 1680s and early 1690s, Leibniz set out a world whose basic constituents were corporeal substances. These corporeal substances were conceived of as genuine unities on the model of a human being: a soul or form, united with a body or matter. These constituents of the corporeal substance were also interpreted in terms of active and passive force. In this way, the primary matter of a substance was identified with impenetrability and resistance.