Leibniz on determinateness and possible worlds

Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12469 (2018)
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Abstract

Leibniz argues that God doesn't create everything possible because not all possible things are compossible, that is, compatible with each other. Much recent debate has focused on Leibniz's conception of compossibility. One important aspect of this debate, which has not been examined directly, is the distinction between possible worlds and possible creations: the notion of possible world is more robust than simply whatever God can create. Many commentators have relied on this distinction without a clear formulation of it. I develop the distinction between possible worlds and possible creations by looking at how Leibniz characterizes what God is capable of creating. I argue that possible creations must be both logically consistent and determinate. Possible creations differ from possible worlds insofar as possible creations fail to be either maximal or harmonious. I conclude, therefore, that focusing on the notion of determinateness offers a new approach to answering the question why doesn't God create everything possible?

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Author's Profile

Adam Harmer
University of California, Riverside

Citations of this work

The Discreteness of Matter: Leibniz on Plurality and Part-Whole Priority.Adam Harmer - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
Leibniz's Causal Road to Existential Independence.Tobias Flattery - 2023 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 1:1-28.
Les mondes possibles de Malebranche et Leibniz.Louis Pijaudier-Cabot - 2023 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 120 (4):477-493.

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Leibniz, God and Necessity.Michael V. Griffin - 2012 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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