Leibniz, a Friend of Molinism

Res Philosophica 95 (3):397-420 (2018)

Abstract
Leibniz is commonly labeled a foe of Molinism. His rejection of robust libertarian freedom coupled with some explicit passages in which he distances himself from the doctrine of middle knowledge seem to justify this classification. In this paper, I argue that this standard view is not quite correct. I identify the two substantive tenets of Molinism. First, the connection between the conditions for free actions and these free actions is a contingent one: free actions follow contingently from their sufficient conditions. Second, God knows what creatures would freely do in different possible circumstances prevolitionally—that is, prior to God willing anything. I argue that Leibniz himself endorses a version of both tenets and utilizes them for theoretical purposes similar to those of Molinists. I conclude that Leibniz is much closer to Molinism than is typically acknowledged. Leibniz is best characterized as a friend—rather than a foe—of Molinism.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 2168-9105  
DOI 10.11612/resphil.1681
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References found in this work BETA

Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting.Daniel C. Dennett - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (9):517-522.
God, Freedom, and Evil.Alvin Plantinga - 1978 - Religious Studies 14 (3):407-409.
Divine Providence: The Molinist Account.David Basinger & Thomas P. Flint - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (2):274.
Recent Work on Molinism.Ken Perszyk - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):755-770.

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