Hidden Folds of Freedom: Freedom and the Will in Leibniz and Malebranche

Dissertation, Harvard University (2000)

The dissertation consists of four parts. Part One, "Freedom and the Will in Early Modern Philosophy," sketches an approach to the problem of freedom in early modern philosophy from the perspective of the faculties of the mind. It shows that attention to the faculties of the mind in general, and the will in particular, clarifies the changes in early modern conceptions of freedom from Descartes to Reid. Part Two, "Could Freedom Be a Miracle? Mind, Nature, and Human Freedom in Leibniz," takes its starting point from a passage that recently has been the subject of considerable discussion by interpreters of Leibniz, the 'private miracle' passage from Leibniz's paper "Necessary and Contingent Truths," in which Leibniz seems to claim that freedom is a miracle. I argue that this interpretation is based on a misunderstanding of Leibniz's conception of nature. Freedom is no miracle; it is attributable to the Leibnizian mind in virtue of its nature. This raises the question of how the nature of the Leibnizian mind accounts for freedom, to which I return in Part Four. Part Three, "The Occasion of Freedom in Malebranche," considers a question first raised by Malebranche's contemporary Antoine Arnauld and thereafter posed by many of Malebranche's readers: "Is it not to say two things that undermine each other, to say that on the one hand, God does all things, and on the other, that man has free will?" I argue that Malebranche's conceptions of attention and the will provide the resources to answer Arnauld's question. According to Malebranche, agents determine themselves, and consequently are responsible for their free choices, but do not thereby cause any real change in the physical world that would require God's causal intervention. Part Four, "Freedom, Indifference, and the Will in Suarez, Leibniz, and Malebranche," returns to the interpretive theme sketched in Part One, examining the interrelations between Leibniz's and Malebranche's conceptions of freedom and the faculties of the mind. Against the background of the will-based account of freedom developed by the late Aristotelian philosopher Francisco Suarez, it assesses the place of the will in Leibniz's and Malebranche's conceptions of freedom
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
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

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 57,199
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

Malebranche and Leibniz on the Best of All Possible Worlds.Tad M. Schmaltz - 2010 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):28-48.
Causality and Human Freedom in Malebranche.Fred Ablondi - 1996 - Philosophy and Theology 9 (3-4):321-331.
Substancia y libertad.Juan Ardila - 2009 - Cuadrante Phi.
Leibniz on Providence, Foreknowledge and Freedom.Jack D. Davidson - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Imitators of God: Leibniz on Human Freedom.Jack Davidson - 1998 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 36 (3):387-412.
Leibniz: Nature and Freedom.Donald Rutherford & J. A. Cover (eds.) - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Malebranche.Andrew Pyle - 2003 - Routledge.
The Cambridge Companion to Malebranche.Steven Nadler (ed.) - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Occasionalism in the Malebranche-Arnauld Debate.Andrew Gerard Black - 1992 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,372,784 of 2,412,212 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #538,625 of 2,412,212 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes