The Second Leibnizian Labyrinth: Psychology, Theology, and Freedom

Dissertation, University of Notre Dame (1991)

During the first half of the twentieth century most Leibniz scholarship followed what has come to be the "received" interpretation of Leibniz in the English speaking world. This interpretation, developed by Bertrand Russell, is distinguished by the fact that it denies the importance of Leibniz's theological interests to his philosophical system. In this dissertation I show that Leibniz's theological beliefs cannot be ignored in trying to understand his philosophical views. I specifically look at two elements of Leibniz's views, his faculty psychology and his view on the relation between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, to show that they have not been well understood and that they provide essential insights into Leibniz's view of freedom. I conclude, contrary to the near-universal interpretation of Leibniz now current, that given Leibniz's theological views it is unlikely that he is a determinist, but that it is also unlikely that he falls into any of the other categories used by contemporary philosophers in the discussion of human freedom, viz., determinism, compatibilism, and libertarianism
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