Volume 17, December 2007
Jeffrey K. McDonough
Leibniz: Creation and Conservation and Concurrence
In this paper I argue that the hoary theological doctrine of divine concurrence poses no deep threat to Leibniz’s views on theodicy and creaturely activity even as those views have been traditionally understood. The first three sections examine respectively Leibniz’s views on creation, conservation and concurrence, with an eye towards showing their systematic compatibility with Leibniz’s theodicy and metaphysics. The fourth section takes up remaining worries arising from the bridging principle that conservation is a continued or continuous creation, and argues that they can be allayed once two readings of the principle are distinguished. What emerges from the discussion as a whole is, I hope, a clearer picture of Leibniz’s views on the nature of monadic causation, his understanding of the relationship between divine and creaturely activity, and his position with respect to later medieval and early modern debates over secondary causation.