• Leibniz on Shape and the Reality of Body
    Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. 2004.
    Leibniz's metaphysics is distinctively idealist. To see why, we need to understand his critical engagement with Descartes's conception of matter. Leibniz employs several different types of argument against this Cartesian conception. Some are based on considerations from physics while others raise deeper, more fundamental questions about the nature of the reality that underlies the world of bodies and their motions. The most important and difficult of these are arguments that focus on the notion …Read more
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    Continuity in Leibniz's mature metaphysics
    Philosophical Studies 94 (1-2): 119-138. 1999.
    In his early discussion of the structure of matter and motion, Leibniz quite explicitly appeals to Aristotle's characterization of continuity, and seems to adopt something like it as his own. Commentators usually assume that Leibniz continues to understand the notion of continuity in this way for the rest of his life. This paper argues that although he does continue to use something like the Aristotelian conception well into the mature period of his thought, he articulates a second sense of cont…Read more
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    Space and Time in Leibniz’s Early Metaphysics
    The Leibniz Review 18 41-79. 2008.
    In this paper I challenge the common view that early in his career (1679-1695) Leibniz held that space and time are well-founded phenomena, entities on an ontological par with bodies and their properties. I argue that the evidence Leibniz ever held that space and time are well-founded phenomena is extremely weak and that there is a great deal of evidence for thinking that in the 1680s he held a position much like the one scholars rightly attribute to him in his mature period, namely, that space …Read more
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    The Fluid Plenum: Leibniz on Surfaces and the Individuation of Body
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (4): 735-767. 2009.
    This Article does not have an abstract