The revival of Leibniz studies in the past twenty-five years has cast important new light on both the context and content of Leibniz's philosophical thought. Where earlier English-language scholarship understood Leibniz's philosophy as issuing from his preoccupations with logic and language, recent work has recommended an account on which theological, ethical, and metaphysical themes figure centrally in Leibniz's thought throughout his career. The significance of these themes to the development of Leibniz's philosophy is the subject of increasing attention by philosophers (...) and historians. This collection of new essays by a distinguished group of scholars offers an up-to-date overview of the current state of Leibniz research. In focusing on nature and freedom, the volume revisits two key topics in Leibniz's thought, on which he engaged both contemporary and historical arguments. Important contributions to Leibniz scholarship in their own right, these articles collectively provide readers a framework in which to better situate Leibniz's distinctive philosophy of nature and the congenial home for a morally significant freedom that he took it to provide. (shrink)
This book offers a sustained re-evaluation of the most central and perplexing themes of Leibniz's metaphysics. In contrast to traditional assessments that view the metaphysics in terms of its place among post-Cartesian theories of the world, Jan Cover and John O'Leary-Hawthorne examine the question of how the scholastic themes which were Leibniz's inheritance figure - and are refigured - in his mature account of substance and individuation. From this emerges a fresh and sometimes surprising assessment of Leibniz's views on modality, (...) the Identity of Indiscernibles, form as an internal law, and the complete-concept doctrine. As a rigorous philosophical treatment of a still-influential mediary between scholastic and modern metaphysics, their study will be of interest to historians of philosophy and contemporary metaphysicians alike. (shrink)
Adherents of traditional western Theism have espoused CONJUNCTION: God is essentially perfectly good and God is thankworthy for the good acts he performs . But suppose that (i) God’s essential perfect goodness prevents his good acts from being free, and that (ii) God is not thankworthy for an act that wasn’t freely performed.
Temporal analyses of causal directionality fail if causes needn't precede their effects. Certain well-known difficulties with alternative (non-temporal) analyses have, in recent accounts, been avoided by attending more carefully to the formal features of relations typically figuring in philosophical discussions of causation. I discuss here a representative of such accounts, offered by David Sanford, according to which a correct analysis of causal priority must issue from viewing the condition relation as nonsymmetrical. The theory is shown first to be an implicitly (...) counterfactual treatment at its base: this provides for an explicit reformulation of several key notions in the theory. An argument is then presented, independent of these modal considerations, for the conclusion that causal priority is possible only given certain implausible assumptions about the asymmetric character of causal laws which, I claim, are not met. The best objection to this argument is shown to fail on several counts, partly in light of the counterfactual results offered earlier. It is concluded that, if laws are symmetric, analyses of the sort discussed must look elsewhere for the source of causal priority; but if laws are not symmetric, resting causal priority so heavily on nomological asymmetry is no analysis at all. (shrink)