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81. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 21
David Lay Williams Patrick Riley’s Leibniz
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This essay clarifies Patrick Riley’s account of G. W. Leibniz by placing Leibniz’s moral and political doctrines in historical perspective. By understanding Leibniz’s practical philosophy as a solution to the same problems confronted by Thomas Hobbes, one can appreciate the originality and appeal of Riley’s Leibniz — with its emphasis on benevolence and Platonic ideas. By drawing attention to Leibniz’s practical works, Riley has resurrected an important voice in the history of political thought that had been long neglected. The essay concludes with some personal remarks about Riley’s own Leibnizian charity.
82. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 21
Richard T. W. Arthur Presupposition, Aggregation, and Leibniz’s Argument for a Plurality of Substances
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This paper consists in a study of Leibniz’s argument for the infinite plurality of substances, versions of which recur throughout his mature corpus. It goes roughly as follows: since every body is actually divided into further bodies, it is therefore not a unity but an infinite aggregate; the reality of an aggregate, however, reduces to the reality of the unities it presupposes; the reality of body, therefore, entails an actual infinity of constituent unities everywhere in it. I argue that this depends on a generalized notion of aggregation, according to which a thing may be an aggregate of its constituents if every one of its actual parts presupposes such constituents, but is not composed from them. One of the premises of this argument is the reality of bodies. If this premise is denied, Leibniz’s argument for the infinitude of substances, and even of their plurality, cannot go through.
83. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Adrian Nita Time as a Condition of Possibility: Reply to Michael Futch
84. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Irena Backus The Mature Leibniz on Predestination
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This essay investigates how Leibniz and Daniel Ernst Jablonski handled the ironing out of intra-protestant religious differences, notably on predestination in the years ca. 1697-1702. I shall be focusing on the recently published union document between the Lutherans of Hanover and the Calvinists of Brandenburg, entitled the Unvorgreiffliches Bedencken (hereafter UB) and on the equally recently published and hitherto practically unknown Meditationes pacatae de praedestinatione et gratia, fato et libero arbitrio of 1701-ca. 1706 2. This is a series of Leibniz’s annotations on Jablonski’s Latin translation of article 17 (predestination) of the bishop of Salisbury, Gilbert Burnet’s Exposition of the 39 Articles of the Church of England. I shall try to show how the issue of predestination is handled in the UB by Leibniz and how his notes on the Meditationes complement and modify Jablonski’s Latin edition of the 17th article of Burnet’s Exposition the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. This will enable us to isolate the set of theological problems faced by the Lutheran and Calvinist participants in the negotium irenicum of 1697 -1702 and to point to the specific nature of the solutions proposed by Leibniz which were philosophical rather than theological. The underlying issue here is that of coexistence of philosophy and theology in Leibniz’s system. Indeed, one of the persistent questions about this philosopher concerns the exact relationship between his metaphysics (including physics and mathematics) and his theological views: which determined which? I hope to take the debate further here by analysing Leibniz’s contribution to the specifically theological issue of predestination, which, it will emerge, has direct bearing on Leibniz’s Essais de théodicée of 1710.
85. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Giovanni Merlo Complexity, Existence and Infinite Analysis
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According to Leibniz’s infinite-analysis account of contingency, any derivative truth is contingent if and only if it does not admit of a finite proof. Following a tradition that goes back at least as far as Bertrand Russell, several interpreters have been tempted to explain this biconditional in terms of two other principles: first, that a derivative truth is contingent if and only if it contains infinitely complex concepts and, second, that a derivative truth contains infinitely complex concepts if and only if it does not admit of a finite proof. A consequence of this interpretation is that Leibniz’s infinite-analysis account of contingency falls prey to Robert Adams’s Problem of Lucky Proof. I will argue that this interpretation is mistaken and that, once it is properly understood how the idea of an infinite proof fits into Leibniz’s circle of modal notions, the problem of lucky proof simply disappears.
86. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra Leibniz’s Argument for the Identity of Indiscernibles in his Letter to Casati (with Transcription and Translation)
87. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Samuel Levey On Unity, Borrowed Reality and Multitude in Leibniz
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In this paper I argue that what has been called Leibniz’s “aggregate argument” for unities in things in fact comprises three quite distinct lines of argument, with different concepts being advanced under the name ‘unity’ and meriting quite different conceptual treatment. Two of those arguments, what I call the Borrowed Reality Argument and the Multitude Argument, also appear in later writings to be further elaborated into arguments not just for unities but for simples. I consider the arguments in detail. I suggest that one of the two, the Borrowed Reality Argument, is philosophically more promising and has the stronger evidence for being central in Leibniz’s thought as he argues for the existence of simple substances.
88. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Anne-Lise Rey Reply to Ohad Nachtomy
89. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Daniel Garber Robert Merrihew Adams and Leibniz
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This essay reviews Robert Merrihew Adams’ approaches to the philosophy of Leibniz, both his general methodological approaches, and some of the main themes of his work. It attempts to assess his contribution both to the study of Leibniz and to the history of philosophy more generally.
90. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 22
Alison Peterman Spinoza on the “Principles of Natural Things”
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This essay considers Spinoza’s responses to two questions: what is responsible for the variety in the physical world and by what mechanism do finite bodies causally interact? I begin by elucidating Spinoza’s solution to the problem of variety by considering his comments on Cartesian physics in an epistolary exchange with Tschirnhaus late in Spinoza’s life. I go on to reconstruct Spinoza’s unique account of causation among finite bodies by considering Leibniz’s attack on the Spinozist explanation of variety. It turns out that Spinoza’s explanations of the variety of bodies, on the one hand, and of causation among finite bodies, on the other, generate a tension in his system that can only be resolved by taking Spinoza to employ two notions of “existence.” I conclude by offering evidence that this is in fact what Spinoza does.
91. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Richard T. W. Arthur Massimo Mugnai and the Study of Leibniz
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This essay is an appreciation of Massimo Mugnai’s many contributions to Leibniz scholarship, as well as to the history of logic and history of philosophy more generally.
92. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Yitzhak Melamed Reply to Colin Marshall and Martin Lin
93. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Justin E. H. Smith Reply to Sarah Tietz
94. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Mogens Lærke, CNRS (UMR 5037) Ignorantia inflat Leibniz, Huet, and the Critique of the Cartesian Spirit
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This article explores the relations between Leibniz and the French erudite Pierre-Daniel Huet in the context of their shared anti-Cartesianism. After an introductory survey of the available commentaries and primary texts, I focus on a publication by Leibniz in the Journal des sçavans from 1693, where he fully endorses the critique of Descartes developed by Huet in his 1689 Censura philosophiae cartesianae. Next, I provide some indications as to Leibniz’s motivations behind this public approval of Huet. First, I show how Leibniz throughout the 1690s was attempting to have his 1692 Animadversiones in partem generalem Principiorum Cartesianorum and other anti-Cartesian items annexed to a reedition of Huet’s Censura. I finally show how these attempts to team up with Huet were prompted by Leibniz’s dislike of certain German Cartesians, in particular J. E. Schweling, and by his fear that orthodox Cartesianism might do irremediable damage to the intellectual ethics of the Republic of Letters.
95. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Richard T. W. Arthur Leibniz’s Mechanical Principles (c. 1676): Commentary and Translation
96. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Larry M. Jorgensen By Leaps and Bounds: Leibniz on Transcreation, Motion, and the Generation of Minds
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This paper traces Leibniz’s use of his neologism, “transcreation.” Leibniz coins the term in his 1676 discussions of motion, using it to identify a certain type of leap that is essential to motion. But Leibniz quickly dispensed with this theory of motion, arguing instead that “nature never acts by leaps,” and the term “transcreation” fell out of use. However, Leibniz surprisingly revived the term in 1709 in his discussion of the generation of rational beings. By contrasting the way Leibniz uses the term in his theory of motion with his use of the term in the generation of rational beings, we will see that Leibniz’s arguments against leaps early in his career are less forceful against the leaps purportedly involved in the generation of minds. Nevertheless, the “transcreation” of minds does not necessary entail a discontinuity in the “chain of being.”
97. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Nicholas Rescher Leibniz and the English Language
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The only extensive study that Leibniz ever made of an English-language book, his New Essays on John Locke’s 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, was based not on the English original, but on a French translation. And his correspondence with English scholars and political figures was invariably written in Latin or French. In consequence the impression is widespread among Anglophone Leibnizians that he did not know English. However, considerable evidence has come to light in recent years that Leibniz did somehow manage to acquire a capacity to handle the language in its written form.
98. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 23
Julia Jorati Monadic Teleology without Goodness and without God
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Most interpreters think that for Leibniz, teleology is goodness-directedness. Explaining a monadic action teleologically, according to them, simply means explaining it in terms of the goodness of the state at which the agent aims. On some interpretations, the goodness at issue is always apparent goodness: an action is end-directed iff it aims at what appears good to the agent. On other interpretations, the goodness at issue is only sometimes apparent goodness and at other times merely objective goodness: some actions do not aim at what appears good to the agent, but merely at what is objectively good—that is, at what God knows to be good—and that is sufficient for teleology. My paper, on the other hand, argues that both of these interpretations are mistaken. Monadic teleology, I contend, does not have to consist in striving for the good; neither goodness nor God is required to make monadic actions teleological.
99. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 24
Stephen Steward Solving the Lucky and Guaranteed Proof Problems
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Leibniz’s infinite-analysis theory of contingency says a truth is contingent if and only if it cannot be proved via analysis in finitely many steps. Some have argued that this theory faces the Problem of Lucky Proof—we might, by luck, complete our proof early in the analysis, and thus have a finite proof of a contingent truth—and the related Problem of Guaranteed Proof—even if we do not complete our proof early in the analysis, we are guaranteed to complete it in finitely many steps. I aim to solve both problems. For Leibniz, analysis is constrained by three rules: an analysis begins with the conclusion; subsequent steps replace a term by (part of) its real definition; and the analysis is finished only when an identity is reached. Furthermore, real definitions of complete concepts are infinitely complex, and Leibniz thinks infinities lack parts. From these observations, a solution to our problems follows: an analysis of a truth containing a complete concept cannot be completed in a finite number of steps—indeed, the first step of the analysis cannot be completed. I conclude by defusing some alleged counterexamples to my account.
100. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 24
Patrick Riley Leibniz’ “Monadologie” 1714-2014
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It is well-known that Leibniz ends and crowns the 1714 “Monadologie” with a version of his notion of jurisprudence universelle or “justice as the charity [love] of the wise:” for sections 83-90 of the Vienna manuscript claim that “the totality of all spirits must compose the City of God . . . this perfect government . . . the most perfect state that is possible . . . this truly universal monarchy [which is] a moral world in the natural world”—a moral world of iustitia in which “no good action would be unrewarded” for those “citizens” who “find pleasure . . . in the contemplation of [God’s] perfections, as is the way of genuine ‘pure love.’” But the opening four-fifths of the work offer Leibniz’ theory of “substance” (or monad) viewed as the necessary pre-condition of justice: for “on the knowledge of substance, and in the consequence of the soul, depends the knowledge of virtue and of justice” (to Pierre Coste, 1712). Thus without a complete and correct notion of substance/monad, no complete and correct notion commune de la justice would be conceivable. Hence the entire “Monadologie” can be understood as a theory of justice underpinned by a Grundlegung of moral “monads” or justice-loving rational “substances.” In this connection it is revelatory that Leibniz cites the relevant sections of the 1710 Théodicée in most of the 90 articles of the “Monadologie” (beginning indeed with article #1): for Théodicée (theos-dike) is (Leibniz says) “the justice of God,” and Leibniz makes that justice “appear” in the opening lines of the “Monadologie” (in effect) by referring the reader immediately to Théodicée #10 (“Preliminary Dissertation”) —which relates “im­mortal spirits” to a just God who is cherished through “genuine pure love.” This means that “the justice of God” as “higher love” colors the “Monadologie” instantly. Thus one need not “wait” for sections 83-90 to arrive in order for the “Monadologie” to be(come) a “theory of justice:” it is such ab initio.