Critique on Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz's Theories on the Mind Essay

Critique on Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz's Theories on the Mind Essay

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Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz has the view that the mind of a substance, including humans, is not a composite entity. To Leibniz, the mind is similar to a mill, in the sense that it is like a machine where all of the parts of it work together. When, in reality, the mind is something that is complex, and needs both an intellectual and a technical side to it for it to function –quite unlike the machine Leibniz claims it is. His argument, known as “The Mill Argument”, states that if a person were to walk into a mill, he or she would observe the inner workings of it, and not know what the parts are made of, or how they are related. Nothing about the parts of the mill would provide insight as to how it works. Leibniz concludes that the mind is merely a mechanical substance, because there is no proof that there is a consciousness connected to the properties of the mind. However, the mind is composed of neurons, which allow the body experience sensations. This means that everything that composes the mind also composes thoughts and feelings, which makes humans not only material, but also thinking beings.
In Reflections on the Soul of a Beast, Leibniz writes:
“we also may easily conclude that in any mill or clock considered
by itself no perceiving principle is found that is produced in the
thing itself; and it makes no difference whether solids, fluids or
mixtures of the two are considered in the machine”
(Leibniz, Rutherford, Philosophy.ucsd).
Leibniz uses the example of the mill to illustrate the fact that there is a difference between the mechanics, and the mental state of the mind. For instance, an analysis of the mind would show that there is nothing that connects the material substance of the brain, to the perceptions it produ...


... middle of paper ...


...e. Which is why we do not analyse the mechanical parts of our Smartphones, or other machines, because we are aware that they are going to perform whatever task we choose to command of the technology. Our minds do not work in the same way as machines; we have multiple functions that we sometimes are not aware we can do, which is completely unlike a machine that can only function the way it is programmed. This is why Leibniz’s theory cannot be true.
Word Count: 1256





Works Cited

Locke, John. "IV.iii.6." An Essay concerning Human Understanding. Print.

Von Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, and Donald Rutherford. "Reflections on the Souls of Beasts." Philosophy.ucsd. N.p., 21 Nov. 2001. Web. https://portal.utoronto.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-3766584-dt-content-rid-20413057_2/courses/Fall-2013-PHL210Y5-Y-LEC0101/Leibniz-Beasts

Von Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. Monadology 17. Print.

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