The Logic of Leibniz’s Borrowed Reality Argument

Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):350-370 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Leibniz argues that there must be a fundamental level of simple substances because composites borrow their reality from their constituents and not all reality can be borrowed. I contend that the underlying logic of this ‘borrowed reality argument’ has been misunderstood, particularly the rationale for the key premise that not all reality can be borrowed. Contrary to what has been suggested, the rationale turns neither on the alleged viciousness of an unending regress of reality borrowers nor on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, but on the idea that composites are phenomena and thus can be real only insofar as they have a foundation in substances, from which they directly ‘borrow’ their reality. The claim that composites are phenomena rests in turn on Leibniz's conceptualism about relations. So understood, what initially looked like a disappointingly simple argument for simples turns out to be a rather rich and sophisticated one.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-03-03
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
90 ( #47,297 of 64,117 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #37,269 of 64,117 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.