Leibniz - God Existence of world Leibniz Spinoza Exists...

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Leibniz Spinoza Leibniz God Exists necessarily Supremely perfect (= infinite power expressed in infinite attributes) Neither God nor the world are inherently good or evil Exists necessarily Supremely perfect (=omnipotent, omniscient, supremely good) God is “just” Existence of world Divine power necessitates the existence of infinite things in infinite ways (= all possible things) Existence of the actual world is contingent God chooses to create this world from among an infinity of possible worlds because it is the best (metaphysically and morally) The choice of the best evidences God’s justice (= goodness plus wisdom) Finite things Modes of God Substances, which are “complete” and causally self-sufficient (monads = mind-like substances with properties of perception and “appetite”) Causal relations God is the immediate cause of all modes Modes of the same attribute stand in causal relations with each other God is the immediate cause of all finite substances and conserves their existence Finite substances are the causes of all changes in their own states Among different substances there are only relations of “preestablished harmony” Human beings A “unity” of mind and body (= an enduring mode of extension and the mode of thought identical with it) A “unity” of mind and body (= “dominant monad” plus bodily monads related by preestablished harmony) 1. Leibniz’s views on contingency can best be understood by contrasting them with those of Spinoza. Spinoza’s position (asserted in Ethics IP16) is that from the necessity of God’s nature, there necessarily follow “infinite things in infinite ways.” For Spinoza, every thing that can exist does exist (the possible is coextensive with the actual) and everything exists necessarily (IP29). In IP33S1 Spinoza distinguishes things necessary by reason of their essence and things necessary by reason of their cause; however he regards these as equally necessary: “there is absolutely nothing in things on account of which they can be called contingent”; “a thing is called contingent only because of a defect of our knowledge.” 2. Leibniz has a variety of reasons for disagreeing with Spinoza’s position: (a) Spinoza’s necessitarianism is at odds with the thought that there are other ways the world could have been, given different initial conditions and different natural laws, and that there is an important distinction to be drawn between logical/geometrical necessity and the necessity of the laws of nature. Although Spinoza denies it, Leibniz ascribes a prima facie presumption to the contingency of the world’s existence and of the laws of nature. (b) If God acts necessarily and determines finite things to exist necessarily, this undermines divine and human
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2009 for the course PHIL Phil 104 taught by Professor Irwin during the Fall '08 term at UCSD.

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Leibniz - God Existence of world Leibniz Spinoza Exists...

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