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The Leibniz Review

Volume 26, December 2016

Dedicated to G. W. Leibniz

Richard T. W. Arthur
Pages 151-178

Leibniz’s Causal Theory of Time Revisited

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 Since that time previously unpublished texts by Leibniz have become available in which he himself explains temporal precedence in terms of causal precedence, and these texts have been given careful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.

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