Journal of the History of Philosophy Announces Book Prize Winner

The Journal of the History of Philosophy has announced the winner of it 2019 book prize, which is awarded for the best book written in history of philosophy in 2018.

The winner is Richard Arthur (Professor Emeritus, McMaster University), for his book, Monads, Composition, and Force: Ariadnean Threads Through Leibniz’s Labyrinth.

The publisher, Oxford University Press, provides the following description of the book:

Leibniz’s monads have long been a source of fascination and puzzlement. If monads are merely immaterial, how can they alone constitute reality? In Monads, Composition and Force, Richard T. W. Arthur takes seriously Leibniz’s claim of introducing monads to solve the problem of the composition of matter and motion. Going against a trend of idealistic interpretations of Leibniz’s thought, Arthur argues that although monads are presupposed as the principles making actual each of the infinite parts of matter, bodies are not composed of them. He offers a fresh interpretation of Leibniz’s theory of substance in which monads are enduring primitive forces, corporeal substances are embodied monads, and bodies are aggregates of monads, not mere appearances. In this reading the monads are constitutive unities, constituting an organic unity of function through time, and bodies are phenomenal in two senses; as ever-changing things they are Platonic phenomena and as pluralities, in being perceived together, they are also Democritean phenomena. Arthur argues for this reading by describing how Leibniz’s thought is grounded in seventeenth century atomism and the metaphysics of the plurality of forms, showing how his attempt to make this foundation compatible with mechanism undergirds his insightful contributions to biological science and the dynamical foundations he provides for modern physics.

The prize is $5000.

A list of the previous winners is here.

(via Jean-Luc Solère)

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