Essay on Leibniz And Spinoza As Applied To Baseball

This essay has a total of 1588 words and 6 pages.

Leibniz And Spinoza As Applied To Baseball

Essay 2

First we will consider the assigned baseball scenario under Leibniz's system of
metaphysics. In the baseball scenario, the aggregate of the player, bat, pitch, swing and
all the other substances in the universe are one and all contingent. There are other
possible things, to be sure; but there are also other possible universes that could have
existed but did not. The totality of contingent things, the bat, the player, etc.,
themselves do not explain themselves. Here Leibniz involves the principle of reason;
"there can be found no fact that is true or existent, or any true proposition, without
there being a sufficient reason for its being so and not otherwise." There must be,
Leibniz insists, something outside the totality of contingent things (baseball games)
which explains them, something which is itself necessary and therefore requires no
explanation other than itself.

This forms Leibniz's proof for the existence of God; a version of Aquinas's cosmological
arguments. God, then, is the necessary being which constitutes the explanation of
contingent being, why the universe is this way rather than any other. Not only is God the
explanation of the baseball scenario but he is also the source of the intelligibility of
such concepts as bat, swing and pitch. Leibniz goes further to prove the omniscience of
God. If God is the explanation of the intelligibility of the universe, then God must have
‘access' to that intelligibility, such that God could be said to know what it is that
being allowed to exist---that is, God must have the ability to grasp complete concepts.
Not only does God constitute the contingent baseball game but he also knows what will take
place before it happens. The pitch, swing and hit all take place not because God creates
them but because he allows them. There is only one constraint on what God allows to
happen, it must not violate Leibniz's other basic principle---non-contradiction. God could
not allow it to happen that the batter hit the ball and the pitcher got a strike. God
chooses the universe that is most perfect, therefore the hitter hitting the ball out of he
park was the most perfect of all possibilities.

Leibniz uses the word ‘Monad' to mean that which is one, has no parts and is therefore
indivisible. These are the fundamental existing things. A monad contains within itself all
the predicates that are true of the subject of which it is the concept, and these
predicates are related by sufficient reason into a vast single network of explanation. So
the monad must not only exhibit properties, but contain within itself ‘virtually' or
‘potentially' all the properties it will exhibit in the future, and also contain the
‘trace' of all properties it did exhibit in the past. Take for example the ball in the
baseball game scenario. The ball monad contains all the properties of the ball, roundness,
hardness, whiteness, etc. It also contains a trace of the ball's past, pop-ups, inside a
glove and ground balls. In addition to this it contains the potential to be hit out, have
the leather knocked off or be thrown away. All these properties are ‘folded- up within
the Monad and they unfold when they have sufficient reason to do so (at the most perfect
moment).

Not only does the Monad contain all of its own properties but it also contains all of it
relational properties to all the other Monads in the universe. Each and every Monad is
self-sufficient. They do not ‘need' to be related to other Monads and neither are they
influenced by other Monads. All of what appears to be cause and effect is a mere illusion.
The relation of cause and effect is, according to Leibniz, merely a cognitive tool that
human beings use to understand Monads and their relational properties. In the baseball
scenario it appears that the hitter causes the ball to leave the park but in actuality he
did not cause it per se. What really causes the ball to leave the park is the
"pre-established harmony" On Leibniz's view, every Monad is like a clock, behaving
spontaneously in the way that it does, independently of other Monads, but nevertheless
tied into the others through the common reason: God and his vast conception of the perfect
universe. It was to be before the baseball game took place that the pitcher would leave a
slider over the plate, that the hitter would make contact right on the label, and that the
ball would soar out of the park.

Also, it is important to point out the number of Monads involved in the scenario. The bat,
gloves, etc. are composed of an infinite number of Monads. We tend to refer to such things
as a single Monad because they all act as one. However, the soul of the pitcher, batter,
fans, and the rest of the players is only one monad which controls the composite of
infinite body Monads.

Continues for 3 more pages >>




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