[time 1109] Monads (Re: [time 1105])

Hitoshi Kitada (hitoshi@kitada.com)
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 23:36:26 +0900

Dear Koichiro, Lance, Stephen, and friends,

Koichiro Matsuno <kmatsuno@vos.nagaokaut.ac.jp> wrote:

Subject: [time 1105] RE: [time 1101] Re: [time 1091] Intensities

> > Lebnitz's thoughts would also tend toward the "nay" side of the scheme
> >also!
> It seems to me that Leibniz would lose nothing even if his monad is
> allowed to have a tiny window through which to see the outside nearby.

I had received the same question from Izumi (Prof. Izumi Ojima at Research
Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Kyoto University) who is a member of this
list now.

Let me briefly introduce Prof. Izumi Ojima. He has been interested in quantum
field theory as well as in time. As far as I understand his papers "Nature vs.
Science" and "Nature vs. Science. II. -- Domains of Truth, Virtue and Beauty as
Three Stages in History of Nature --" in Acta Institutionis Philosophiae et
Aestheticae, Vol. 10 (1992) and Vol. 11 (1993), his ideas on time seem to be
fundamentally the same as mine. Also he has an interesting understanding of the
arrow of time in which Stephen might be interested.

Below my thought on the windowless monads:

First a quotation of some items from Leibniz' "Monadology:"

"1. The monad, of which we shall speak here, is nothing but a simple substance
which enters into compounds; simple, that is to say, without parts.
2. And there must be simple substances, because there are compounds; for the
compounds is nothing but a collection or aggregatum of simples.
3. Now where there are no parts, there neither extension, nor shape, nor
divisibility is possible. And these monads are the true atoms of nature.
4. Moreover, there is no fear of dissolution, and there is no conceivable way in
which a simple substance could perish in the course of nature.
5. For the same reason there is no way in which a simple substance could begin
in the course of nature, since it cannot be formed by means of compounding.
6. Thus it may be said that monads can only begin and end all at once, that is
to say they can only begin by creation and end by annihilation, whereas what is
compound begins or ends by parts.
7. There is also no means of explaining how a monad can be altered or changed
within itself by any other created thing, since it is impossible to displace
anything in it or to conceive of the possibility of any internal motion being
started, directed, increased, or diminished within it, as can occur in
compounds, where change among the parts takes place. Monads have no windows, by
which anything could come in or go out. Accidents cannot become detached, or
wander about outside substances, as the 'sensible species' of the Scholastics
used to do. Thus neither substance nor accident can enter a monad from without."
(From "Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Philosophical Writings," Translated by Mary
Morris and G. H. Parkinson, Everyman, 1995.)

I think from these statements that, as a "simple existence"that is a true atom
of nature, monad must not be sensible to the outside, and hence must be
windowless by definition.

My interpretation is that a monad in the context of Leibniz is a local system
without disturbance in my context. Simpleness which Leibniz requires monads does
not contradict the plurality of the elements in a local system: A local system
becomes a different local system if it is divided, so it is indivisible as local
systems and is an elementary unit of existence. "Monads have no windows, by
which anything could come in or go out." is true for local systems in the sense
that: a local system becomes a different local system if "anything could come in
or go out" with respect to the local system, and therefore, as far as a local
system remains the same, it has "no windows."

I agree with Koichiro:

> It seems to me that Leibniz would lose nothing even if his monad is
> allowed to have a tiny window through which to see the outside nearby.

in the point that no local system is observable if it does not change by the
perturbation associated with the observation. In so far as we consider
observation of local systems, they have windows. However, being a true atom
remains valid in the internal world of each local system, where no outside is
considered and no disturbance is from the outside.

I think Leibniz' monad without windows would be an expression of the westerners'
concerns on the internal world, which seems to have been lost in the Modern age
at least apparently. I would interpret this Leibniz' windowless monad as a
succession of a good part of the Medieval age in the point that it describes a
characteristic of the inner world of ours.

I would like to know the opinions or views of western philosophers on this
point, i.e. my question is: In the western philosophy, what Leibniz' windowless
monad means, how it is justified in his context, and how it has been a problem.
The understanding of this point might be a key for the western and the eastern
thoughts to understand mutually. I should appreciate it if any of you would give
us your thoughts. Especially I should be grateful to Lance and Stephen if they
would let us know their opinions.

Best wishes,

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