Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature

Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature

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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 Amongst its other virtues, it makes considerable use of unpublished manuscript sources.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.show more

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'... 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 Studiesshow more

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.show more

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