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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Edited by Donald Rutherford

Volume 76, Issue 4, Fall 2002
Leibniz

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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Abbreviations to Leibniz’s Works
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Donald Rutherford Introduction: Leibniz and Religion
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3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Christia Mercer Leibniz on Knowledge and God
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Scholars have long noted that, for Leibniz, the attributes or Ideas of God are the ultimate objects of human knowledge. In this paper, I go beyond these discussions to analyze Leibniz’s views about the nature and limitations of such knowledge. As with so many other aspects of his thought, Leibniz’s position on this issue—what I will call his divine epistemology—is both radical and conservative. It is also not what we might expect, given other tenets of his system. For Leibniz, “God is the easiest and the hardest being to know.” God is the easiest to know, in that to grasp some property of an essence is to attain a knowledge of the divine essence, but God is also the most difficult to know, in that “real knowledge” of the divine essence is not available to finite beings. There is an enormous gap between the easy and the real knowledge of God, but for Leibniz, this gap is a good thing, since the very slowness of our epistemological journey prepares us morally for its end.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Ursula Goldenbaum Spinoza’s Parrot, Socinian Syllogisms, and Leibniz’s Metaphysics: Leibniz’s Three Strategies For Defending Christian Mysteries
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This paper intends to show the connection between the theological, logical and epistemological ideas in Leibniz’s thinking. The paper will focus on the reasons for Leibniz’s fundamental decision to defend the Christian mysteries and his three different strategies for doing so. Each of these strategies is an answer to a particular challenge: to the Socinian who claims that the mysteries are contradictory; to the mechanical philosophy which denies the possibility of the mysteries, and to Spinoza’s parrot argument which demands that we be silent when we have no comprehension. Although he had already worked out his reconciliation of the Christian mysteries with the mechanical philosophy in Mainz around 1670, Leibniz first published it only in 1710 in his Théodicée.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Paul Lodge Leibniz, Bayle, and Locke on Faith and Reason
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This paper illuminates Leibniz’s conception of faith and its relationship to reason. Given Leibniz’s commitment to natural religion, we might expect his view of faith to be deflationary. We show, however, that Leibniz’s conception of faith involves a significant non-rational element. We approach the issue by considering the way in which Leibniz positions himself between the views of two of his contemporaries, Bayle and Locke. Unlike Bayle, but like Locke, Leibniz argues that reason and faith are in conformity. Nevertheless, in contrast to the account that he finds in Locke’s Essay, Leibniz does not reduce faith to a species of reasonable belief. Instead, he insists that, while faith must be grounded in reason, true or divine faith also requires a supernatural infusion of grace.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Maria Rosa Antognazza Leibniz and Religious Toleration: The Correspondence with Paul Pellisson-Fontanier
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As one might expect, throughout his life Leibniz assumed an attitude of religious toleration both ad intra (that is, toward Christians of other confessions) and ad extra (that is, toward non-Christians, notably Muslims). The aim of this paper is to uncover the philosophical and theological foundations of Leibniz’s views on this subject. Focusing in particular on his epistolary exchange with the French Catholic convert Paul Pellisson-Fontanier, I argue that neither toleration ad intra nor toleration ad extra is grounded for Leibniz in indifference toward the content of revealed religion. On the contrary, Leibniz remained convinced of the objective truth of the Christian religion as it is handed down by the millennia-old tradition of the truly universal church. In his view, reasons internal to the very nature of salvation and to the conception of God and man explicitly contained in or, at least, in accord with this tradition present religious toleration as the only justifiable answer to the differences among religions.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Michael J. Murray Leibniz’s Proposal for Theological Reconciliation among the Protestants
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Between 1701 and 1705 Leibniz focused on the task of securing theological reunion between Lutherans and Calvinists, the two major Protestant sects at the time. Doing so, he believed, required reconciliation on two key topics, namely, the doctrine of the Eucharist, and the doctrine of election. To bring unity on the second issue, Leibniz composed a lengthy treatise based on a commentary on the Thirty-nine articles of the Church of England. This treatise stakes out a position springing from Leibniz’s own views. In this essay, I examine the views Leibniz defends in this treatise. I show that Leibniz’s views are much friendlier to the Arminian perspective than to the Calvinist one. I also show that this result is surprising since Arminian views seem incompatible with views on freedom and the problem of evil standardly attributed to Leibniz. This lack of fit should compel a re-examination of these standard attributions.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Jean-Pascal Anfray God’s Decrees and Middle Knowledge: Leibniz and the Jesuits
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During the seventeenth century, disputes over middle knowledge centered on the following question: does God know contingent states of affairs before He decrees to bring them about (the Jesuit view); or, conversely, does He know them after He has decreed which states of affairs He will bring about (the Dominican view)? This article intends to cast some light on Leibniz’s view of this question. Of central importance here is the notion of a possible decree (designed both to ground contingency and to explain God’s knowledge). Despite his apparent proximity to the Dominican view, Leibniz maintained the prevolitional nature of God’s knowledge of contingent states of affairs. In order to establish this point, Leibniz’s view is compared to some little known developments in the theory of middle knowledge.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Mark Kulstad Exploring Middle Ground: Was Leibniz’s Conception of God ever Spinozistic?
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Robert M. Adams has recently and controversially discussed the question whether Leibniz’s conception of God was ever Spinozistic. His affirmative answer has been opposed by Christia Mercer but supported by the present author. In this paper the debate is briefly sketched as a preliminary to the presentation of a new middle position, one that incorporates elements of both of the opposing interpretations. Along the way, the paper discusses Leibniz’s interesting treatment of God as the one and the all, as both the unity and the multiplicity in the world, and as the key to universal harmony.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 76 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 76 (2002)
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