Pauline Phemister raises a number of queries and problems concerning the distinction between living and non-living machines. Leibniz contends that the presence of the dominating monad ?in? the mass that comprises the organic body gives rise to the animal or corporeal substance that exists as a living, unified entity. From pre-formed seeds, the organic body of this corporeal substance comes into existence as a living machine that is also a machine in the least of its parts and whose organizational structure and internal complexity sustains and preserves it as a biological entity. However, if, granting pre-formation, physiological functions are explicable solely by appeal to the mechanism of the body, what need is there for the dominating monad? Conversely, how can Leibniz rule out pre-formation in bodies we normally presume to be inanimate and as lacking dominating monads? Examination of common defining characteristics of living machines ? self-motion, self-repair, nutrition, reproduction and inner complexity ? brings into focus some of the difficulties and limitations attached to the use of such empirical data to distinguish living from non-living machines.
|Title of host publication||Machines of Nature and Corporeal Substances in Leibniz|
|Editors||Justin E. H. Smith, Ohad Nachtomy|
|Number of pages||22|
|ISBN (Print)||978 94 007 0040 6|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
|Name||The New Synthese Historical Library|