The Leibniz Review 20:13-36 (2010)

Paul Lodge
Oxford University
In discussion of Leibniz’s philosophical methodology Donald Rutherford defends the view that Leibniz regarded metaphysics as an a priori demonstrative science. In the course of this discussion Rutherford isolates and tries to deflect a significant challenge for his view, namely the observation that in many of his mature writings on metaphysics Leibniz appears to defend his views by means of a posteriori arguments. I present some prima facie difficulties with Rutherford’s position and then offer an alternative account of how Leibniz thought he needed to establish metaphysical claims. My suggestion is that the challenge that Rutherford poses may be best answered by attending to the fact that Leibniz recognized a kind of metaphysical enquiry, ‘real metaphysics’, that is essentially a posteriori, in virtue of the fact that it is concerned not just with possible kinds of beings, but with the kinds of beings that God actually created
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
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ISBN(s) 1524-1556
DOI 10.5840/leibniz2010202
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