Download Leibniz: Nature and Freedom by Donald Rutherford PDF

By Donald Rutherford

The revival of Leibniz reports long ago twenty-five years has forged vital new gentle on either the context and content material of Leibniz's philosophical concept. the place prior English-language scholarship understood Leibniz's philosophy as issuing from his preoccupations with good judgment and language, fresh paintings has suggested an account on which theological, moral, and metaphysical issues determine centrally in Leibniz's notion all through his occupation. the importance of those subject matters to the improvement of Leibniz's philosophy is the topic of accelerating realization via philosophers and historians. This selection of new essays by means of a distinctive team of students deals an updated review of the present kingdom of Leibniz examine. In concentrating on nature and freedom, the quantity revisits key issues in Leibniz's inspiration, on which he engaged either modern and historic arguments. very important contributions to Leibniz scholarship of their personal correct, those articles jointly offer readers a framework during which to raised situate Leibniz's particular philosophy of nature and the congenial domestic for a morally major freedom that he took it to supply.

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But if this so, then his account of spontaneity seems too broad to tell us anything informative about freedom; in particular, the notion of monadic spontaneity fails as a basis for distinguishing free acts from those in which an agent is physically constrained. Rutherford argues that Leibniz’s writings also offer support for a narrower notion of agent spontaneity, which characterizes cases in which an individual can be understood as acting for the sake of the greatest apparent good. Rutherford shows how the latter notion is defined within the framework of monadic spontaneity, and why Leibniz believes that both sorts of spontaneity are relevant to the understanding of freedom.

First, with regard to lines 12–16: why have I changed the order of presentation, placing the points about essence, which in the passage earlier occur well before the conclusion that all things are one, after that conclusion? The reason for this is that, on my reading of the argument, the points about essence (along with the linked point about modal distinction) are not logically necessary for the conclusion that all things are one. Placing those points after that conclusion makes this feature of my reconstruction clearer, and it serves as well to emphasize the natural link between lines 12–16 and the final segment of the argument, lines 17–19.

In ‘‘Leibniz and Sleigh on Substantial Unity,’’ Christia Mercer examines the basis of Leibniz’s views on the unity of corporeal substance. Mercer begins from the influential analysis of Robert Sleigh, who links the unity of Leibnizian substances to their possession of an identity through change. For Leibniz, Sleigh argues, this identity is guararanteed by the presence of a substantial form: an internal force or power by virtue of which any substance satisfies the condition of spontaneity: ‘‘each noninitial state of an individual has as its real cause some predecessor state of that individual’’ (Sleigh 1990: 131).

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