[time 1111] Re: [time 1109] Monads (Re: [time 1105])

Stephen Paul King (stephenk1@home.com)
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 18:13:30 -0500

Dear Hitoshi and Friends,

        :-) This is a very important issue and I apologize in advance for my
dyslexic thinking and writing. :-)

Hitoshi Kitada wrote:
> 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 am afraid that the allowance of windows, however small, would bring
into the model of Local Systems a problem that would ruin it
consistency. We need to look carefully what it means to make

> 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.

        I am very interested in Prof. Ojima's thoughts about the arrow of time!
:-) Does he have a web site and/or are his papers available as
postscript files?

> 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 found this on-line URL that contains the above quote, except is is by
a different translator:

> 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.

        I would like to direct our attention to the following web site:

        The discussion is directed at the issue at hand! :-) The one comment
that I have of it is that the negation of dualism that Leibniz espouses
is a bit misguided. The use of an ab initio "pre-established harmony"
("created minds and bodies are programmed at creation such that all
their natural states and actions are carried out in mutual
coordination.") to explain the facts of psycho-physical parallelism is
subject to the same criticisms as the notion of a priori Cauchy
hypersurfaces (cf. http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/gr-qc/9310031)used in GR to
fix the initial conditions of the Universe.

"Leibniz's account of mind-body causation was in terms of his famous
doctrine of the preestablished harmony. According to the latter, (1) no
state of a created substance has as a real cause some state of another
created substance (i.e. a denial of inter-substantial causality); (2)
every non-initial, non-miraculous, state of a created substance has as a
real cause some previous state of that very substance (i.e. an
affirmation of intra-substantial causality); and (3) each created
substance is programmed at creation such that all its natural states and
actions are carried out in conformity with all the natural states and
actions of every other created substance."

        If we are to mind the consequences of the Uncertainty Principle (UP),
we must dismiss this assumption on absolute initiality. This is were the
ideas sketched out by Vaughan Pratt
(http://boole.stanford.edu/chuguide.html#ratmech) and Peter Wegner
(http://www.cs.brown.edu/people/pw/papers/bcj1.pdf) can come to our aid,
but that is the subject of other postings. :-)

> 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."

        Yes, it is very important to note that any observation whatsoever of a
Quantum Mechanical Local System (LS) implies that it is perturbed by
the act and thus we could consider such as implying a change of the LS.
We might consider that the act of observation of a LS is an act of
selection from an equivalence class (defined using ZFC- set theory. cf.
http://bugs.cs.wcupa.edu/~lizhang/Thesis/thesis/abstract.html) of
permitted LSs. This might take into account the notion that Hitoshi
points out: "...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
> 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.

        Yes, but here we are approaching the difficult issue! :-)
> 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.

        It appears to me that the habituation of Western thought following a
materialistic and reductionistic paradigm is one root of this problem.
It is tacitly assumed that mental behaviors are completely within the
purview of materialistic models, viz. "mind is an epiphenomenon of
matter". It is well illustrated in the following commentary of a book by
David Ray Griffin:
and this comment on E. T. Jaynes' thoughts:
        The problem is that it can be equally argued that "matter is an
epiphenomenon of mind" have similar problems! See:

        So, what do we do in order to proceed? :-) Perhaps Leibniz offers a

"...it is his view that the world consists solely of one type of
substance, though there are infinitely many substances of that type.
These substances are partless, unextended entities, some of which are
endowed with thought and consciousness, and others of which found the
phenomenality of the corporeal world. "
        The question them becomes: What quality is it that distinguishes those
monads that are "endowed with thought and consciousness" and the "others
of which found the phenomenality of the corporeal world"?
        For consistency sake we should remember that monads would be
indistinguishable to an hypothetical ideal observer; such an requirement
causes us a serious problem if we are not allowed to consider monads
externally as atoms that can exist in different configurations in some
empty space-time as well as having the internal ability to represent
        We are then in a position to inquire into the possibility that the
above eluded to quality that distinguishes monads is the distinction
between matter and information.
        In order to go further, I believe that we need to have a commonly
agreed upon definition of information. Here are some relevant URLs:

        Well, I guess that I should stop at this point and see that reactions
result from my musings. :-)

Kindest regards,



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