[FOM] The influence of Leibniz on Russell

Buckner d3uckner at btinternet.com
Mon May 7 04:58:26 EDT 2007

Noticing the thread on Leibniz, I wonder if FOM readers would be
interested in my recent translation of Bonaventura's Commentary on the
Four Books of Sentences, Distinction III.

The first distinction is on whether angels are composed of matter, the
second, on whether angels are distinguished in number:


As the introduction notes, this was a celebrated debate in medieval
times, and Leibniz was much influenced by Aquinas' position (writing to
Arnauld that 'I am indeed entirely persuaded of what St Thomas had
already taught in regard to intelligences [i.e. angels], and which I
hold to be of general application, namely that it is not possible that
there should be two individuals entirely alike, or differing solo numero
(in number alone). See also Discourse on Metaphysics XI).  Frege also
mentions the dispute, although he almost certainly relied on secondary

On why Leibniz rejected predicates with more than one argument, couldn't
the simple answer be his unquestioning acceptance of Aristotelian logic?
As Ross noes, his first and enduring experience of philosophy was
through scholastic Aristotelianism, and, unlike virtually all the other
modern philosophers, he never lost his respect for Aristotle, and later
scholastics such as Suárez.

E D Buckner

More information about the FOM mailing list