Leibniz's Best World Claim Restructured

American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (1):57-84 (2010)
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Abstract

Leibniz claimed that the universe, if God-created, would be physically and morally optimal in this conjoint sense: Of all possible worlds, it would be richest in phenomena, but its richness would arise from the simplest physical laws and conditions. This claim raises two difficult questions. First, why would this “richest/simplest” world be morally optimal? Second, what is the optimal balance between these competing criteria? The latter question is especially hard to answer in the context of a multiverse or multi-domain universe. Leibniz focused on goodness as God’s motive in creation. “This is the cause of the existence of the best: that his wisdom makes it known to God, his goodness makes him choose it, and his power lets him produce it.” This article suggests that love is God’s motive. Since love entails acting to both benefit and be with the beloved, limitless love would entail God’s becoming as much unified reality as possible. The physical laws that govern the universe and its vast richness of phenomena appear to be those that we should expect if this claim is true and there are ways of testing the closeness of this fit. The claim that God has become the world (pandeism) also offers a satisfying resolution to the problem of evil.

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References found in this work

The emperor’s new mind.Roger Penrose - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
The origin of species.Charles Darwin - 1859 - New York: Norton. Edited by Philip Appleman.
Summa Theologica.Thomasn D. Aquinas - 1273 - Hayes Barton Press. Edited by Steven M. Cahn.
God, freedom, and evil.Alvin Plantinga - 1978 - Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

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