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The Leibniz Review

Volume 27, December 2017

Stephen Steward
Pages 21-30
DOI: 10.5840/leibniz2017272

Messeri on the Lucky Proof

Marco Messeri (2017) offers a new solution to the problem of lucky proof (an influen­tial objection to Leibniz’s infinite-analysis theory of contingency. Messeri claims that contingent truths like “Peter denies Jesus” cannot be proved by a finite analysis because predicates like “denies Jesus” are infinitely complex. I argue that infinitely complex predicates appear in some necessary truths, and that some contingent truths have finitely complex predicates. Messeri’s official account is disjunctive: a truth is contingent just in case either it contains an infinitely complex predicate or it concerns existence. I argue against Messeri’s official account and suggest that some other disjunctive account might be appropriate.