Preestablished Harmony

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Preestablished Harmony


a concept introduced into philosophy by G. von Leibniz in 1695 to account for the universal interaction and harmony in the world. According to this doctrine, further developed by Leibniz in 1696, the substantive elements in the world, the monads, being purely spiritual substances, cannot interact with one another physically. However, the development of each stands in a harmonious relationship preestablished by god with the development of all other monads and with the world as a whole. As a result of this essential harmony, there also arises a harmony among phenomena (physical determinism) and a harmony between substance and phenomenon (concord between final and efficient causes and between body and soul).

The theory of preestablished harmony was directed against Malebranche’s occasionalism and Cartesian dualism; within a deistic framework, it upheld the concept of the immanent harmony of natural processes.


Eisler, R. Kritische Untersuchung des Begriffes der Weltharmonie…. Berlin, 1895.
Belaval, Y. Ł’Idee d’harmonie chez Leibniz. In “Studium generale,” 1966, vol. XIX, fasc. 9.


References in classic literature ?
Bread's sense of the pre-established harmony which kept servants in their "place," even as planets in their orbits (not that Mrs.
This imposes a pre-established harmony between the material realm of the calculator and the abstract realm of mathematics.
At the same time the product needs to offer experience-value that exceeds the expectations of pre-established harmony. When the experience of participating in a sports event or watching sports is spectacular and far exceeds the pre-established harmony that tourist becomes a repeat tourist who gains attachment to a particular region or community.
The latter reconciles modern science and Christian dogma through a pre-established harmony established by God.
Kant's early writings subscribe to an interactionist cosmology opposed to both Leibniz's pre-established harmony and Malebranche's occasionalism.
Stewart would have the reader believe that Leibniz's pre-established harmony is a slight modification of Spinoza's parallelism doctrine (pp.
As a refutation to Spinoza's claim that there was only one substance, God, Leibniz declared that the world was made up of an infinity of self-contained entities that he called monads, existing in a pre-established harmony. In effect, this was an "argument from design."
Seginger does not rail to point out this analogy between la genetique and la genealogie, which is a thread that runs through the book and suggests a pre-established harmony between this criticism and Zola's work.
Representation is a feature of perceptions that arises not from causal influx, but from pre-established harmony. It is, therefore, intrinsic in a strong sense.
Pace Mauser (especially pages 123-27), who articulates the theme most clearly (and boldly), one still feels the disciplining influence, in all these probings, of the rhetorical framework (for example, emotional freedom legitimized by the subject-matter in the Sublime) and of a kind of pre-established harmony between 'sinnliche Erkenntnis' and the truth of reason, as when Meier asserts that the soul is a truthworthy mirror 'wenn sie anders in ihren Vorstellungen nicht irret' (my emphasis: see Vollhardt, p.
Van Fraassen's strategy is to canvass all the possible explanatory strategies that might be applied to the correlations, and show that they all fail - except the strategy of explanation by pre-established harmony. Appeal to a pre-established harmony is not as disreputable as it sounds, van Fraassen Claims, if it is understood only as "to admit that we have no explanation but refuse to consider the correlation mysterious nevertheless" (p.
In System of Efficient Causes and Philosophical Treatise on the Immaterial Nature of the Soul, Knutzen rejects pre-established harmony and occasionalism, defending 'physical influx' in their place.