Eternal Punishment, Universal Salvation and Pragmatic Theology in Leibniz

In Lloyd Strickland, Erik Vynckier & Julia Weckend (eds.), Tercentenary Essays on the Philosophy & Science of G.W. Leibniz. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 301-24 (2017)

Paul Lodge
Oxford University
This paper explores the issue of Leibniz's commitment to the doctrines of eternal punishment and universal salvation. I argue against the dominant view that Leibniz was committed to eternal punishment, but rather than defending the minority position that Leibniz believed in universal salvation, I suggest that the evidence for his adherence to each is indicative of the way in which he regards religious doctrine as instrumentally valuable. My hypothesis is that Leibniz thought that the appropriateness of advocating eternal damnation, universal salvation or any other eschatological position was a function of the role that it would play in engendering the virtue of true piety in a given audience.
Keywords leibniz  philosophical theology  philosophy of religion  damnation  pragmatism  salvation
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