Leibniz on the Structure of Relations

  • Massimo Mugnai
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 47)


For more than seventy years now one of the topics discussed most by students of Leibniz’s logic is undoubtedly that of the role assigned by Leibniz to relations and relational propositions. Russell and Couturat mentioned the problem at the beginning of the century and today, above all with the works of Mates, Clatterbaugh, Burkhardt and Castañeda,1 decisive steps have been taken toward the investigation of certain aspects of the vexata quaestio: it is not bold to think that shortly, with the help of the publication of Leibniz’s unpublished works, sufficiently firm conclusions can be drawn. In this sense — that is, along the road which can lead to similar conclusions — the contributions of Burkhardt and Clatterbaugh seem to me to deserve particular attention: in them the distinction made between the ontological and logical aspects in the problem of relations can lead to the assumption of a fruitful point of view, capable of clearing the field of difficulties which are otherwise hard to overcome. But beyond these particular results, a decisive step forward was made, in my opinion, by the acknowledgment of the very necessity of a distinction.


Decisive Step Logical Plane Relational Proposition Correlate Subject Oblique Case 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1980

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  • Massimo Mugnai

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