Philosophy Department Seminar - The Infinite in Leibniz with Maria Rosa Antognazza (Kings College London)

30 November 2017, 2.00 PM - 30 November 2017, 3.30 PM

Cotham House G2

Abstract: After revisiting Leibniz’s distinction between (i) syncategorematic infinite, (ii) categorematic infinite, and (iii) actual infinite, I examine his claim that (iv) the hypercategorematic infinite is “God himself”. I aim to show that a proper understanding of what Leibniz meant by “hypercategorematic infinite” sheds light on some fundamental aspects of his conceptions of God and of the relationship between God and created simple substances or monads. I then discuss the issue of whether the hypercategorematic infinite is a “whole”, comparing the four kinds of infinite outlined by Leibniz in 1706 with the three degrees of infinity outlined in 1676. In the last section, I discuss the relationship between the hypercategorematic infinite and created simple substances. I conclude that, for Leibniz, only a being beyond all determinations but eminently embracing all determinations can enjoy the pure positivity of what is truly infinite while constituting the ontological grounding of all things.

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