Possible Worlds in the Precipice: Why Leibniz Met Spinoza?

Facta Universitatis 16 (3):213-223 (2017)

Authors
Vassil Vidinsky
Sofia University
Abstract
The main objective of the paper is to give initial answers to three important questions. Why did Leibniz visit Spinoza? Why did his preparation for this meeting include a modification of the ontological proof of God? What is the philosophical result of the meeting and what do possible worlds have to do with it? In order to provide answers, three closely related manuscripts by Leibniz from November 1676 have been compared and the slow conceptual change of his philosophical apparatus has been analyzed. The last of these manuscripts was presented and read in front of Spinoza. Around that time Leibniz abandoned the idea of plurality of worlds (cf. Tschirnhaus) and instead proposed the idea of possible worlds, thus introducing possibility into the (onto/theo)logical structure itself in order to avoid the “precipice” of Spinoza’s necessity. What is interesting, however, is how exactly this conceptual change occurred at the end of 1676 and what its philosophical and methodological implications are.
Keywords Leibniz  Spinoza  possible worlds  plurality of worlds  ontological proof of God  qualities  Tschirnhaus
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