Monadologism, Inter-subjectivity and the Quest for Social Order

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz presents the idea of monads, as non-communicative, self-actuating system of beings that are windowless, closed, eternal, deterministic and individualistic. For him, the whole universe and its constituents are monads and that includes humans. In fact, any ‘body’, such as the ‘body’ of an animal or man has, according to Leibniz, one dominant monad which controls the others within it. This dominant monad, he often refers to as the soul. If Leibniz’s conception of monads is accepted, it merely establishes human subjectivity, idiosyncrasies, biases, prejudices and individual points of view as the norm. How then do we ensure inter-subjectivity and the kind of social interaction requisite for the achievement of social order, since Leibniz’s system forecloses the possibility of interaction and communication among monads? In this essay, we argue that just as Leibniz’s monads synchronize only through the Supreme Monad (Monas Monadum), humans as social monads should also interact through a matrix of ideals like truth, honesty, sincerity, integrity, altruism, impartiality, compassion and trust. Since social order is actualised only within the context of linked social structures, relations and values, these utopian ideals would form the fulcrum through which humans relate and the very foundation that would anchor a viable social order. Our aim here is to establish a relationship between Leibniz’s metaphysics and the physical domains of life by showing that metaphysical constructs can impinge on human social relations and wellbeing. The study employed the qualitative method of research through critical analysis of texts, library and archival materials.

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Joseph Omokafe Fashola
Redeemer's University, Ede


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