Essence and Possibility in the Leibniz‐Arnauld Correspondence

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1):2-26 (2016)

Eric Stencil
Utah Valley University
In the 1680s, Gottfried Leibniz and Antoine Arnauld engaged in a philosophically rich correspondence. One issue they discuss is modal metaphysics – questions concerning necessity, possibility, and essence. While Arnauld's contributions to the correspondence are considered generally astute, his contributions on this issue have not always received a warm treatment. I argue that Arnauld's criticisms of Leibniz are sophisticated and that Arnauld offers his own Cartesian account in its place. In particular, I argue that Arnauld offers an account of possibility that is actualist, modal actualist and essence-based.
Keywords Arnauld, Antoine  Leibniz, Gottfried  Possibility  Essence
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DOI 10.1111/papq.12095
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The Philosophical Writings of Descartes.Rene Descartes - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
On The Plurality of Worlds.Graeme Forbes - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 38 (151):222-240.
Reductive Theories of Modality.Theodore Sider - 2003 - In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 180-208.

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