In Leibniz’s 1714 Monadology we have an example of the many different ways that philosophers have theorized about the constitution of our world before they had the technology to know many details that we know now. Although some of Leibniz’s theories have been shown to be incorrect, or perhaps cannot be proven at all, there are also some elements of Leibniz’s works that been shown to be quite accurate. Indeed, Leibniz is credited with inventing the calculus at around the same time as Newton.
Student Assignment: Having read Leibniz’s Monadology, you will present a summary and your own questions about your particular section of the Monadology. You will depict your summary and questions on your own “monad” and post your monad on the classroom wall when you present your findings. Once all student monads have been composited together on the wall — making a larger monad — class discussion can ensue.
Note to Teacher: There are 90 different points in the Monadology, so depending on class size you can give students a few points each. With younger students this can be done as a group project, giving each group a larger number of points to read through together. The Monadology can be assigned to older students to read in entirety independently before class, while you can assign it in class for younger students — simply assign each group only one portion of the text to read, and this way the students end up sharing about their respective sections of the text to teach their classmates.