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Theodicy Essays on the Goodness of God, ..

Leibniz therefore sought to develop a different strategy in order toclear God of the charge of being the author of sin. Inthe Philosopher's Confession, his most significant treatiseon evil aside from the Theodicy, Leibniz claims that althoughGod wills everything in the world, his will with respect to goodsis decretory , whereas his will with respect to evils ismerely permissive. And Leibniz argues that God's permissivewilling of evils is morally permissible if and only if such permissionof evil is necessary in order for one to meet one's moralobligations..

Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man & the Origin of Evil ..

Regardless of which of these interpretations is correct, if these arethe standards by which God judges the world's goodness, it becomesmuch more difficult to defend the claim that this is not the bestpossible world. We can use standard (3) to illustrate. In order, forexample, for God to eliminate the Oklahoma City bombing from theworld, what would be required in order for him to do so? There arepresumably a number of ways in which this might be done. The mostobvious would involve miraculous intervention somewhere in the chainof events leading up to the explosion. God might miraculously preventthe explosives from detonating, or he might eliminate the truck andits contents from the world. But this sort of miraculous interventionwould require that the laws governing the world become morecomplex. Consequently, Leibniz, and others who share this view of whatthe goodness of a world consists in, such as Malebranche, think thatmiraculous intervention is generally repugnant and would requirevastly outweighing goods to result from a miraculous intervention inorder for such an intervention to bepermissible. [See Theodicy 129 (H 192–3; G VI 182).]

Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the ..

Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil Leibniz, G. W.

In 1710, G.W. Leibniz published Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. This book, the only one he published in his lifetime, established Leibniz’s reputation more than anything else he wrote. The Theodicy brings together many different strands of Leibniz’s own philosophical system, and provides a rare snapshot of how Leibniz intended these disparate aspects of his philosophy to come together into a single, overarching account of divine justice in the face of the world’s evils. At the same time, Leibniz’s Theodicy is a fascinating window into the co ...

The issues that arise in thinking about Leibniz's views on the problemof evil have only in the past couple of decades begun to receive thesustained scholarly attention that they deserve in virtue of theirmanifest significance for Leibniz. In the last few years inparticular––probably not coincidentally, thethree-hundredth anniversary of the publication ofthe Theodicy was celebrated in 2010––considerableinterpretive attention has been devoted to the details of Leibniz'streatment of the problem of evil and related topics. [Rateau (2008)is the first book-length treatment of Leibniz's work on the problem ofevil; the essays in Rateau (2011) and Newlands and Jorgensen(forthcoming) are devoted to particular topics related to Leibniz'streatment of the problem of evil.] Given the fact that Leibniz'streatment of the problem of evil draws on medieval sources and alsowas taken as a target by later writers such as Voltaire and Kant,renewed interest in Leibniz's treatment of the problem of evil,combined with the resurgence of interest in contextual history ofphilosophy, have inspired recent work on the general historicalsignificance of Leibniz's work on the problem of evil that seeks toilluminate later approaches to the problem of evil as well as thenature of the problem of evil itself. [See, inter alia,Larrimore (2004), Neiman (2002), and the essays in Rateau (2009).] Inlight of the fact that new translations of Leibniz's central textsdevoted to the problem of evil have either only relatively recentlybeen published (CP) or are in process––a new edition andEnglish translation of the Theodicy, by Sean Greenberg andR. C. Sleigh, Jr., is well underway and under contract with OxfordUniversity Press–and given that other new texts, like DPW, thatbear on this nest of issues may well be discovered, there is reason toexpect that this topic will continue to be an active area of Leibnizscholarship, and therefore that any conclusions about Leibniz's viewson the problem of evil must, for now, remain tentative and subject torevision.

Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God ..

beings is one of the standards by which God judges the goodness of ..

Leibniz argues in numerous texts that it is parochial to think thathuman happiness is the standard whereby the goodness of worlds is tobe judged. A more reasonable standard, according to Leibniz, would bethe happiness of all sentient beings. But once we admit this, it mayturn out that the amount of unhappiness in the created realm is quitesmall, given that for all we know, the sentient beings on Earth mightconstitute a very small percentage of the sentient beings created byGod. Here Leibniz includes not only preternatural beings such asangels, but also the possibility of extraterrestrial rational beings[Theodicy 19 (H 134–5; G VI 113–4)].

There is disagreement among Leibniz scholars about the basis forjudging the goodness of worlds. Various scholars have defended one ormore of the following:

Theodicy Essays on the Goodness of God the Freedom of …
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Theodicy Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom …

In any event, Leibniz holds that we are simply unable to know howchanging certain events would change the world's capacity to meet thestandards of goodness described in (2) and (3). Thus, according toLeibniz, we are not justified in claiming that this world is not asgood, all things considered, as some other possible world. Accordingto Leibniz, then, the underachiever problem cannot get off the groundunless the critic is able to defend the claim that this world is notthe best possible world. It should be noted that Leibniz's approach tothe underachiever problem thus seems be immune to the line ofcriticism pressed by Voltaire in Candide, namely, that it isobvious that this world is not the best possible world because thereare so many manifest evils in it. Leibniz does not believe that eachindividual event is the best possible event, and he does not thinkthat it is possible for finite minds to demonstrate that everyindividual event must be a part of the best possible world: rather, hebelieves that the world as a whole is the best possible world. (Thatsaid, it should be noted that there is considerable scholarlycontroversy as to whether Voltaire's target in Candide isindeed Leibniz: it has been claimed, for example, that the“optimism” lampooned in Candide is closer to thatof Pope (see Rutherford (1995); on the general reception of Leibniz inFrance, see Barber (1955)].) In any event, on Leibniz's view, ourinability to know how changing certain events in the world wouldaffect other events and our inability to know how such changes wouldaffect the overall goodness of the world make it impossible to defendthe claim that the manifest evils in the world constitute evidencethat this is not the best possible world.

Best of all possible worlds - Wikipedia

Some scholars have argued that one or the other of thesetwo more metaphysical standards represents Leibniz's settled view onthe true standard of goodness [Gale, for example]. Other scholars have arguedthat, in the end, the two standards are not exclusive of each other.[See Rutherford, cc.2–3 and Rescher, c.1 for two very different ways ofharmonizing (2) and (3).]

Philosophy of Religion | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Far less scholarly attention has been devoted to Leibniz's treatment ofthe holiness problem, if only because this conception of the problemhas only recently been recognized by Leibniz scholars. As notedabove, the main problem here is that God's character seems to bestained by evil because God causally contributes to theexistence of everything in the world, and evil is one of those things.[For two recent treatments see Sleigh (1996) and Murray (2005)]

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