Idealistic Studies 8 (2):124-135 (1978)

Kenneth Seeskin
Northwestern University
This is an essay in what might be termed philosophic appreciation. Ordinarily one should not have to take to print to ask people to appreciate the writings of a figure like Leibniz. But the particular aspect of Leibniz’ thought that I would like to discuss is one which most contemporary philosophers find totally unpalatable. According to the conventional wisdom, the claim that existence is a perfection was refuted once and for all by Kant. The passages where Leibniz suggests that there is something good in the mere realization of essence generally are read only to prepare the way for the eventual triumph of philosophers like Hume, Kant, and Russell. If the only thing I accomplish by writing this essay is to show that Leibniz’ position deserves serious consideration and cannot be rejected out of hand, then I will have accomplished something of value. For the most part, the question, “Is existence a perfection?,” is not discussed by contemporary metaphysicians because it is not thought to be a live, philosophic issue.
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies19788212
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,688
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Existence as a Perfection.Michael Wreen - 2017 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 20 (1):161-172.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Perfection, Power and the Passions in Spinoza and Leibniz.Brandon C. Look - 2007 - Revue Roumaine de la Philosophie 51 (1-2):21-38.
Leibniz on Hope.Markku Roinila - 2012 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer (ed.), Emotional Minds. De Gruyter. pp. 161.
Leibniz and the Possibility of God's Existence.David Werther - 1996 - Religious Studies 32 (1):37 - 48.
Leibniz and Kant on Possibility and Existence.Ohad Nachtomy - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (5):953-972.
Kant on the Perfection of Others.Lara Denis - 1999 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):25-41.
Leibniz on Whether the World Increases in Perfection.Lloyd Strickland - 2006 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (1):51 – 68.
Leibniz on Emotions and the Human Body.Markku Roinila - 2011 - In Breger Herbert, Herbst Jürgen & Erdner Sven (eds.), Natur und Subjekt (IX. Internationaler Leibniz-Kongress Vorträge). Leibniz Geschellschaft.
Compossibility, Harmony, and Perfection in Leibniz.Gregory Brown - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):173-203.


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #308,768 of 2,349,675 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #510,898 of 2,349,675 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes