Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature
This is the most up-to-date and comprehensive interpretation of the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). Amongst its other virtues, it makes considerable use of unpublished manuscript sources. The book seeks to demonstrate the systematic unity of Leibniz's thought, in which theodicy, ethics, metaphysics and natural philosophy cohere. The key, underlying idea of the system is the conception of nature as an order designed by God to maximise the opportunities for the exercise of reason. From this idea emerges the view that this world is the best of all possible worlds, and an ethical ideal in which the well-being of human beings is promoted through the gradual extension of intellectual enlightenment.
- Paperback | 320 pages
- 152 x 227 x 19mm | 470g
- 18 Nov 2003
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- Revised ed.
Table of contents
Part I. Theodicy: 1. The vindication of divine justice; 2. The maximisation of perfection and harmony; 3. Happiness and virtue in the best of all possible worlds; Part II. First philosophy: 4. Metaphysics and its method; 5. The categories of thought and being; 6. Substance; Part III. Nature: 7. Modelling the best of all possible worlds; 8. Monads, matter, and organisms; 9. Dynamics and the reality of matter; 10. Corporeal substance and the union of soul body.
'... Donald Rutherford has produced a fine, fine book on Leibniz. Under Rutherford's expert guidance, anyone at all interested in the history and philosophy of physics can come to understand how and why Leibniz is the pivotal figure that he is.' Foundations of Physics 'Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature is a learned and sensible book.' Journal of Religious Studies "Rutherford writes with great clarity, he sets forth his ideas in a well-organized fashion, and his interpretations are well informed and cogent. This book will be of interest to specialists in early modern philosophy, because it challenges some `standard' interpretations of Leibniz's philosophy. Yet, because the author offers an interpretation of Leibniz's entire philosophical project, it will also be useful for nonspecialists who want to become more familiar with Leibniz's thinking on the whole." The Review of Metaphysics "...succeeds in providing a most coherent reading of Leibniz by piecing together the most appealing Leibnizian system out of disparate doctrines....Rutherford's systematizing of Leibniz is often brilliant; it allows him to explore Leibnizian issues in a novel fashion." ISIS "Unfortunately, Leibniz, one of the great systematic thinkers in Western intellectual history, is near-impossible to treat systematically. But in Donald Rutherford's new book, this near-impossible task not only gets done, it gets done exactly right....It's a daunting task, but Rutherford was undaunted....Donald Rutherford has produced a fine, fine book on Leibniz. Under Rutherford's expert guidance, anyone interested in the history and philosophy of physics can come to understand how and why Leibniz is the pivotal figure that he is." Foundations of Physics "Rutherford's work is refreshing and clear. His treatment of such topics as divine justice, harmony, substance, souls, and matter is cogent and well argued. A valuable addition for both the novice and the experienced Leibnizian. One of the best of a recent spate of Leibniz books. Highly recommended for all libraries." Choice "Rutherford's well-researched and beautifully written individual essays have always been a pleasure to read and intellectualy rewarding as well...there is no question that he is an author to follow." Catherine Wilson, Philosophy in Review "...excellent book." The Philosophical Review