Virtual Union, the Seeds of Hatred, and the Fraternal Joining of Hands: Leibniz and Toleration

Journal of Modern Philosophy 1 (1):6 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper, I am interested in the conception of toleration that can be gleaned from the political and theological texts of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. I argue that Leibniz did not defend a notion of toleration comparable to a standard modern conception. The modern conception is very often traced back to a constellation of writers contemporary with Leibniz including Locke, Bayle, and Spinoza. It involves an inclusive embrace of diversity, religious and otherwise, and an affirmation of toleration as a fundamental value in and by itself, intrinsically linked to an equally fundamental imperative of freedom of expression allowing such diversity to flourish publicly. Leibniz, however, understood toleration as a political tool to be employed in order to facilitate the reunion of the Christian churches; he did not consider it a constitutive value, or a value in and by itself, but rather saw it as a means to an end; he did not establish any intrinsic link between toleration and freedom of expression but promoted moderate forms of censorship. Most importantly, however, while clearly seeing it as something positive, he also detected deep ambiguities in the concept from which we have much to learn in our own assessment of modern toleration.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,509

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Ecclesiology, Ecumenism, Toleration.Maria Rosa Antognazza - forthcoming - In The Oxford Handbook of Leibniz. Oxford - New York: Oxford University Press.
Leibniz, la censure et la libre pensée.Mogens Lærke - 2007 - Archives de Philosophie 2:273-287.
Substancia y libertad.Juan Ardila - 2009 - Cuadrante Phi.
Leibniz - A Freedom Libertarian.Ori Beck - 2015 - Studia Leibnitiana 47:67-85.
The Simplicity of Toleration.Peter Königs - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (1):5-24.
Leibniz on Providence, Foreknowledge and Freedom.Jack D. Davidson - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Leibniz on the Expression of God.Stewart Duncan - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:83-103.


Added to PP

18 (#607,993)

6 months
1 (#418,511)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Toleration.Rainer Forst - 2012 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Tolerance as a Virtue in Spinoza's Ethics.Michael A. Rosenthal - 2001 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (4):535-557.
Spinoza's Republican Argument for Toleration.Michael A. Rosenthal - 2003 - Journal of Political Philosophy 11 (3):320–337.
The Consequences of Error: Leibniz and Toleration.Mariangela Priarolo - 2016 - Rivista di Storia Della Filosofia 71 (4):745-764.

View all 11 references / Add more references