David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3):321-334 (2004)
Leibniz’s philosophy of time stands at the center not only of his metaphysics but also of his overall philosophy. For this reason, it has attracted the interest of Leibniz scholars and of philosophers of science alike. This concern notwithstanding, scant attention has been paid to what Leibniz himself takes to be a principal philosophical and theological issue in his philosophy of time: the world’s eternity. This article aims to redress this imbalance by ascertaining Leibniz’s views on the beginning, or beginninglessness, of the world. Situating Leibniz’s views against the backdrop of ancient and medieval philosophy, I argue that he rejects traditional arguments seeking to prove the impossibility of an infinite temporal regress. At the same time, Leibniz equally eschews efforts to show that the world cannot have a beginning. Thus, Leibniz denies that the extent of the world’s duration can be decided on purely philosophical grounds
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