In Gregory Brown & Yual Chiek (eds.), Leibniz on Compossibility and Possible Worlds. Springer. pp. 145-174 (2016)

Thomas Feeney
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
Leibniz claims that God acts in the best possible way, and that this includes creating exactly one world. But worlds are aggregates, and aggregates have a low degree of reality or metaphysical perfection, perhaps none at all. This is Leibniz’s tendency toward acosmism, or the view that there this no such thing as creation-as-a-whole. Many interpreters reconcile Leibniz’s acosmist tendency with the high value of worlds by proposing that God sums the value of each substance created, so that the best world is just the world with the most substances. I call this way of determining the value of a world the Additive Theory of Value (ATV), and argue that it leads to the current and insoluble form of the problem of incompossibility. To avoid the problem, I read “possible worlds” in “God chooses the best of all possible worlds” as referring to God’s ideas of worlds. These ideas, though built up from essences, are themselves unities and so well suited to be the value bearers that Leibniz’s theodicy requires. They have their own value, thanks to their unity, and that unity is not preserved when more essences are added.
Keywords Leibniz  compossibility  possible worlds  metaphysical perfection  acosmism  value summation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Upload history
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Divine Faculties and the Puzzle of Incompossibility.Julia Jorati - 2016 - In Gregory Brown & Yual Chiek (eds.), Leibniz on Compossibility and Possible Worlds. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 175–199.
The Problem of Plurality of the World in Cosmology and Philosophy.A. M. Mostepanenko - 1983 - der 16. Weltkongress Für Philosophie 2:906-910.
Leibniz: Modality and Ontology.Donald Graeme Hunter - 1981 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
Was Leibniz Entitled to Possible Worlds?Lynne Rudder Baker - 1985 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):57-74.
Leibniz on Compossibility.James Messina & Donald Rutherford - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (6):962-977.
Complete Concepts as Histories.Enrico Pasini - 2010 - Studia Leibnitiana 42 (2):229-243.
Leibniz on Essence, Existence and Creation.Stephen A. Erickson - 1965 - Review of Metaphysics 18 (3):476 - 487.
Leibniz.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1972 - Garden City, N.Y., Anchor Books.


Added to PP index

Total views
134 ( #65,982 of 2,330,888 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
66 ( #8,030 of 2,330,888 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes