Influxus Physicus
O'Neill (Eileen)
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    Leibniz claims there are three systems of natural change in created substances: the "hypothesis of occasional causes", his own Pre-established Harmony, and "the common hypothesis of influx" or of "physical influence". But what precisely is this latter system which both the Occasionalists and Leibniz sought to subvert? I begin with an examination of the influx models of natural causation1 with which Leibniz could have been familiar: Neoplatonic, Scholastic, and an Atomistic-Corpuscularian model, as well as Bacon's Multiplication of Species model. I argue that the Neoplatonic replicative model and the Corpuscular diremptive model picture natural change in terms of transmission. I show that the Multiplication of Species model tries to avoid, but ultimately falls back upon, a transmission picture and that Leibniz saw the Scholastics as equally unable to escape this picture of natural change. I discuss Leibniz's complex relation to the Corpuscularians and ask does Leibniz take Descartes's model of natural change to be that of "influxus physicus", and is Leibniz correct? (edited)

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