Tinu Ruparell


They polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and the Visistadvaita theologian Ramanuja both face a similar conceptual problem: each holds that the universe is composed of a single substance yet is experienced by us in the phenomenal realm as plural. The problem, simply put, is that they must both show how it is that our experience of diversity arises from ontological unity - how the many comes from the one. In what follows I suggest that reading Leibniz through Ramanuja in the way suggested by the structure of metaphorical dialectic as elucidated by Ricoeur and exploited by Clooney casts Leibniz's problem in a more helpful light. As I show below, such a reading facilitates for Leibniz Ramanuja's dialectic or 'polarity' theological method in order to nuance Leibniz's discussion of well-founded phenomena. This provides a better understanding of the relationship between fundamental or primary monadic substances such as God and non-primary monadic created reality. Firstly, however, we must rehearse a little of Leibniz's Monadology in order to indicate where Ramanuja's method might usefully be employed.

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