Miracles in the Best of all Possible Worlds: Leibniz's Dilemma and Leibniz's Razor

History of Philosophy Quarterly 12 (1):19-39 (1995)
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Abstract

In the first section of this paper I discuss what Leibniz meant by a miracle and why Leibniz’s definition of the best of all possible worlds implies that it is a world in which miracles are minimized. In the second part of the paper I argue that human happiness within the best of all possible worlds also requires, on Leibniz’s principles, that miracles must there be minimized. In the third section of the paper I consider what, if any, miracles actually remain possible for Leibniz within the best of all possible worlds. In the final section I discuss one important kind of event upon which Leibniz vacillated whether it required miraculous intervention -- namely, the elevation of the sensitive soul to rationality -- and some speculation about the cause of this vacillation in Leibniz is offered

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Gregory Brown
University of Houston

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