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Tracing the footsteps of the young Leibniz in the labyrinth of the continuum

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2008
Ebetürk, Emre
This study is an attempt to explicate Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz’s search for a way out of the labyrinth of the continuum in his early years of philosophizing. The main motive of the study is the belief that it would be worthwhile to see how Leibniz initially goes into the labyrinth and comes across with the riddles contained in it. Accordingly, this thesis is intended to discuss what the problem of the composition of the continuum is for the young Leibniz, which concepts and metaphysical problems are associated with the labyrinth, and what particular difficulties challenge Leibniz in his struggle. More importantly, the study seeks to delineate how Leibniz responds to these difficulties, what kinds of solutions he suggests, and how and why he changes his mind and offers different accounts concerning the composition of the continuum in his early writings. In this search for a way out of the labyrinth, some of the early writings of Leibniz written between 1666 and 1675 were studied with a particular emphasis on those directly related with the labyrinth of the continuum. During the study, the differences and transitions between geometrical, physical, and metaphysical accounts concerning the problem of the composition of the continuum were examined with a special focus on the bridging role of ‘motion’ and the notion of ‘conatus.’