In Kevin Timpe, Meghan Griffith & Neil Levy (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Free Will. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 293–302 (2017)

Julia Jorati
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Leibniz was obsessed with freedom. He turns to this topic again and again throughout his long career. And what he has to say about freedom is much more resourceful and inventive than typically acknowledged. While building on medieval theories—for instance by describing freedom in terms of the relation between the agent’s will and intellect—he also adds radically new elements and even anticipates some views that are popular today. The combination of theses about free will that Leibniz endorses in his mature writings is unusual and may at first appear inconsistent: (a) he claims that some of our actions are free, (b) he links free agency closely to agent causation and in fact appears to deny that there is event causation; (c) he accepts a form of determinism. In other words, Leibniz endorses what we can describe as an agent-causal compatibilist theory of freedom. The three theses may seem to be in tension not only because proponents of agent causation views are typically incompatibilists, but also because determinism is often defined in a way that presupposes event causation. As we will see soon, however, the tension is merely apparent. Leibniz’s version of agent-causal compatibilism is perfectly coherent and has some unique advantages over rival accounts.
Keywords Leibniz  freedom  free will  compatibilism  agent causation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
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: 59,079
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

Active Control, Agent-Causation and Free Action.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (2):131-148.
A Compatibilist Version of the Theory of Agent Causation.Ned Markosian - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (3):257-277.
Afterword to The Philosophy of Aristotle.Susanne Bobzien - 2011 - In Renford Bambrough & Susanne Bobzien (eds.), The Philosophy of Aristotle. Signet Classics.
Free Will and the Burden of Proof.William G. Lycan - 2003 - In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press. pp. 107-122.
Leibniz on Causation – Part 2.Julia Jorati - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (6):398-405.
Leibniz on Causation and Agency.Julia Jorati - 2017 - Cambridge University Press.
Leibniz on Causation – Part 1.Julia Jorati - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (6):389-397.
Libertarian Accounts of Free Will.Randolph Clarke - 2003 - Oxford University Press USA.
Can the Agency Theory Be Salvaged?Andrei A. Buckareff - 2001 - Philosophia Christi 3 (1):217-224.


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #352,100 of 2,427,834 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #75,405 of 2,427,834 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes