20 - T he constituents of each possible world are distinct...

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The constituents of each possible world are distinct from those of any other world. In contemporary terms, there is no "cross-world" or "trans-world" identity. Although different worlds could contain an individual meeting the description "the first man," only one world, ours, contains Adam. In the other worlds, the first man is someone else. What makes an individual possible is that its concept contains no contradiction. For Leibniz, an individual is fully described by an individual concept; anyone grasping the concept in its entirety would know everything there is to know about that individual, save whether it exists. To put it another way, the representation of the individual is "given" through its individual concept. A contradiction is harbored by a concept just in case the analysis of that concept yields a property and its negation. For example, the concept of a square circle contains the concepts "having angles" and "not having angles," A and not-A. Thus a contradictory concept C is one which upon analysis can be found to have a property and the absence of that property. There is no guarantee that a concept is not contradictory, unless it can be analyzed into its simplest components. In fact, this is how Leibniz tried to show that God is possible, i.e., that the concept of God contains no contradiction. God is a being whose concept contains only positive predicates. There is no not-A among the characteristics of God, so there can be no contradiction in the concept of God. As quoted eariler from the 'Monadology,' Leibniz held that God "is without limits, without negation, and consequently without contradiction" (Section 45). Kant noted that Leibniz's followers took this idea a step further. "His disciples consider it
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 113 taught by Professor Gerogemattey during the Winter '10 term at UC Davis.

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20 - T he constituents of each possible world are distinct...

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