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The Leibniz Review

Volume 26, December 2016
Dedicated to G. W. Leibniz

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Displaying: 1-10 of 16 documents

1. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
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2. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Cathereine Wilson, Why Do We Study Leibniz (After 300 Years)?
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The question why Leibniz continues to fascinate and perplex us 300 years after his death is one I approach with both hesitation and enthusiasm. Rather than attempting a survey of currrent controversies in Leibniz scholarship, as useful and interesting as such a survey would be, I take the opportunity to explain the underlying basis of our interest in Leibniz.
3. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Gregory Brown, Leibniz on the Ground of Moral Normativity and Obligation
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My aim in this paper is to elucidate Leibniz’s account of moral normativity and the relation between motivation and obligation. I argue against the recent interpretation of Christopher Johns, according to which Leibniz’s moral theory is actually a deontological theory, having more in common with Kantian moral theory than with any form of consequentialism. I argue that for Leibniz reason is not itself the source of practical normativity and real obligation; the source of that is rather the agent’s desire for his own happiness or perfection. For Leibniz, reason in its practical role functions instrumentally: the desire for one’s own happiness is the source of practical normativity, and reason functions only to transfer that normativity from the end that it does not determine to the means to those ends that it does determine.
4. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Carla Rita Palmerino, Geschichte des Kontinuumproblems or Notes on Fromondus’s Labyrinthus?: On the True Nature of LH XXXVII, IV, 57 r°-58v°
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In 1996, Manuel Luna Alcoba published a transcription of LH XXXVII, IV, 57 r°-58v°, a manuscript written by Leibniz after 1693 and containing historical and systematic reflections on the problem of the continuum. The present article aims to show that the manuscript, to which Luna Alcoba attributed the title Geschichte des Kontinuumproblems, consists mainly of excerpts from, paraphrases of, and comments on the Labyrinthus sive de compositione continui (1631), a book by the Louvain philosopher and theologian Libert Froidmont to which Leibniz often referred in his writings. By comparing LH XXXVII, IV, 57 r°-58v° with the Labyrinthus, I try to understand which parts of Fromondus’ book attracted Leibniz’ attention and why the latter, as late as 1693, still found it worth brooding over an Aristotelian treatise on the composition of the continuum.
5. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Stephen Puryear, Leibnizian Bodies: Phenomena, Aggregates of Monads, or Both?
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I propose a straightforward reconciliation of Leibniz’s conception of bodies as aggregates of simple substances (i.e., monads) with his doctrine that bodies are the phenomena of perceivers, without in the process saddling him with any equivocations. The reconciliation relies on the familiar idea that in Leibniz’s idiolect, an aggregate of Fs is that which immediately presupposes those Fs, or in other words, has those Fs as immediate requisites. But I take this idea in a new direction. I argue that a phenomenon having its being in one perceiving substance (monad) can plausibly be understood to presuppose other perceiving substances (monads) in the requisite sense. Accordingly, a phenomenon in one monad can indeed be an aggregate of other monads, in Leibniz’s technical sense, just as the latter monads can be constituents of the phenomenon. So understood, the two conceptions of body are perfectly compatible, just as Leibniz seems to think.
6. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Yual Chiek, Lawful Fecundity and Incompossibility: A Criticism of Jeffrey McDonough’s ‘Leibniz and the puzzle of incompossibility: the packing strategy’
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Relying on an analogy Leibniz makes in On The Ultimate Origin of Things between God’s creation of substances and a tiling board game, Jeffrey McDonough argues that the challenge of the problem of incompossibility is finding the optimal balance of net-goodness and plenitude given certain existential constraints that God must respect. For McDonough the ordering that optimizes the greatest number of substances is the best of all possible worlds. In this paper I argue that McDonough’s solution cannot be an admissible interpretation of compossibility as Leibniz perceived it because he misinterprets the aim of the tiling analogy: Leibniz did not intend for the tiling analogy to be applied to the problem of compossibility. In my view Leibniz used the tiling analogy to argue for simplicity as a necessary feature of the nomological makeup of the best set of already-compossible substances.
7. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Richard T. W. Arthur, Leibniz’s Causal Theory of Time Revisited
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Following the lead of Hans Reichenbach in the early twentieth century, many authors have attributed a causal theory of time to Leibniz. My exposition of Leibniz’s theory of time in a paper of 1985 has been interpreted as a version of such a causal theory, even though I was critical of the idea that Leibniz would have tried to reduce relations among monadic states to causal relations holding only among phenomena. Since that time previously unpublished texts by Leibniz have become available in which he himself explains temporal precedence in terms of causal precedence, and these texts have been given careful scrutiny by other scholars, such as Jan Cover, Stefano Di Bella and Michael Futch. In this paper I respond to their analyses, and try to make precise the way in which Leibniz’s views on time and on causality fit together in his metaphysics.
8. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Ohad Nachtomy, Infinite and Limited: On Leibniz’s View of Created Beings
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This paper develops some important observations from a recent article by Maria Rosa Antognazza published in The Leibniz Review 2015 under the title “The Hypercategorematic Infinite”, from which I take up the characterization of God, the most perfect Being, as infinite in a hypercategorematic sense, i.e., as a being beyond any determination. By contrast, creatures are determinate beings, and are thus limited and particular expressions of the divine essence. But since Leibniz takes both God and creatures to be infinite, creatures are simultaneously infinite and limited. This leads to seeing creatures as infinite in kind, in distinction from the absolute and hypercategorematic infinity of God. I present three lines of argument to substantiate this point: (1) seeing creatures as entailing a particular sequence of perfections and imperfections; (2) seeing creatures under the rubric of an intermediate degree of infinity and perfection that Leibniz, in 1676, calls “maximum in kind”; and (3) observing that primitive force, a defining feature of created substance, may be seen as infinite in a metaphysical sense. This leads to viewing Leibniz’s use of infinity within a Neoplatonic framework of descending degrees of Being: from the hypercategorematic infinite, identified with the most perfect Being; to the intermediate degree of maximum in kind, identified with creatures; to the lowest degree of entia rationis (or beings of reason), identified with mathematical and abstract entities.
book reviews
9. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Alex Douglas, The Collected Works of Spinoza, Vol. 2
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10. The Leibniz Review: Volume > 26
Mogens Lærke, Negotium Irenicum. L’union des Églises protestantes selon G. W. Leibniz and D. E. Jablonski
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