On internal relations in Leibniz, British neo-realism and Whitehead

Jean-Pascal Alcantara


The aim of this paper consists in asking whether Whitehead’s philosophy of organism would be a reenactment of Leibniz’s doctrine of internal relations. As this terminology depends on Russell’s reading of Leibniz, it is first necessary to restore the so-called thesis of reducibility of relations through the opposition of the main commentaries. Secondly, we distinguish Russell’s refusal of the axiom of internal relations from Moore’s criticism, which is rather related to the exclusiveness of this axiom. Thirdly, we follow Whitehead on relations from 1905 to 1925, agreeing with Russell about the untenable supremacy of the judgement of predication, but getting closer to Moore about the axiom, for the very reason that if there were any internal relation, there could be no process in the nature.

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