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Confessio Philosophi: Papers Concerning the Problem of Evil, by G. W. Leibniz

By G. W. Leibniz

This quantity includes papers that signify Leibniz’s early suggestions at the challenge of evil, centering on a discussion, the Confessio philosophi, within which he formulates a basic account of God’s relation to sin and evil that turns into a fixture in his thinking.How can God be understood to be the final word reason, asks Leibniz, with no God being regarded as the writer of sin, a end incompatible with God’s holiness? Leibniz’s makes an attempt to justify the best way of God to people lead him to deep dialogue of similar themes: the character of unfastened selection, the issues of necessitarianism and fatalism, the character of divine justice and holiness. All yet one of many writings provided listed below are to be had in English for the 1st time.

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Consider Pilate, who is damned. Why? Because he lacks faith. Why does he lack it? Because he lacked the will to pay heed. Why does he lack this? Because he did not understand the necessity of the matter (the usefulness of paying heed). Why did he not understand? 5 What, therefore, is the ultimate basis of the divine will? 6 For God wills those things that he perceives to be the best and, likewise, the most harmonious; and he selects them, so to speak, from the infinite number of all the possibles.

In so saying Leibniz meant to preclude various moves his predecessors had made in order to block the transition from the first principle to the second. The standard move, cast in appropriate terminology, goes as follows: True, God decrees concerning every created state of affairs that obtains, but in some cases his decree is purely permissive. That is, in some cases God does not decree that f obtains, thereby bringing it about that f obtains; rather, God decrees to permit f to obtain, for example, as the result of the free exercise of some created agent’s will.

Quid ergo? Ecce Pilatus damnatur. Cur? quia caret fide. Cur caret, quia caruit voluntate attentionis. Cur hac, quia non intellexit rei necessitatem (attendendi utilitatem). Cur non intellexit, quia causae intellectionis defuere. Omnia enim necesse est resolvi in rationem aliquam, nec subsisti potest, donec perveniatur ad primam, aut admittendum est, posse aliquid existere sine sufficiente ratione existendi, quo admisso, periit demonstratio existentiae Dei multorumque theorematum Philosophicorum.

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