The Leibniz Review 7:95-102 (1997)

Patrick Thomas Riley
Harvard University
The greatest satisfaction a scholar can know is to have his work intelligently appreciated by the most competent judges. I am therefore delighted when Professor Donald Rutherford, the author of that superb book, Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature, generously describes my Leibniz’ Universal Jurisprudence: Justice as the Charity of the Wise as “a wonderful achievement.” I am especially pleased that he thinks I made a respectable case for Leibniz’ anti-Hobbesian, Christian-Platonist definition of justice as caritas sapientis seu benevolentia universalis, “the charity of the wise, that is, universal benevolence.” For, as I said in my Conclusion, “Obviously a social world fully and completely governed by the Leibnizian principle of justice as ‘wise charity’ would be a good one, and certainly better than our present social world... Who can doubt that the world would be better if Leibnizian universal jurisprudence were in place—if every rational substance in the universe not only refrained from harm [the neminem laedere of Roman law] but rejoiced in the ‘perfection’ of others?... Only an ungenerous heart would fail to be moved by so generous a moral vision.” That generous moral vision, I suggested, comes out most eloquently in La véritable piété of 1710
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 1524-1556
DOI leibniz199772
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