Life itself can not be properly defined without the presence of non-linear, aperiodical, complex, irregular, not quite predictable, not completely erratic, more or less determinable movements introducing symmetry-breaks. Often these movements are completely chaotic but can be characterized by a strange attractor in the phase-space depicting the route of the movement. Hence, chaos is ruled by a higher-order calculus.
Jorgensen and Samuel Newlands eds. New Essays on Leibniz's Theodicy Published: August 07, Larry M. Context and Content, which was held on the th anniversary of the publication of the Theodicy at the University of Notre Dame in September Indeed, the original versions of many of the papers can still be viewed on the Notre Dame's Center for the Philosophy of Religion's YouTube page.
The stated aim of the conference was to explore [the Theodicy's] contents, its fit within the Leibnizian corpus, its broader historical context, and its subsequent reception and impact [and] also explore how the views expressed fit into the larger intellectual landscape of the period, standing as it does at crucial crossroads: This also serves as an accurate general description of the present volume, which features versions of most of the papers that were delivered.
The volume comprises twelve essays and a short introduction by the editors. The contributors include a significant number of the most distinguished contemporary scholars writing about Leibniz, together with some younger authors.
The introduction provides a short description of the background to, and historical reception of, the Theodicy as well as a brief account of each essay.
The editors follow the convention of trying to point to common features that provide a rationale for the ordering of the essays. This perhaps proves a little strained, given that the essays are discrete, independently authored, and hence largely unconnected responses to the brief "re-examine Leibniz's Theodicy both in its intellectual context and its philosophical content" p.
However, the volume is probably none the worse for this, given that it allows the authors the freedom to speak about things on which they have views rather than a prescribed topic. One important theme in the introduction concerns the extent to which Leibniz's Theodicy, and the brand of perfectionist ethics that it grounds, have been sorely neglected by readers of Leibniz ever since the 18th century -- whether as a result of factors such as Voltaire's famous lampooning in Candide, Kant's dismissal of the very possibility of a theodicy, or among Anglophones Russell's rather pompous and fatuous account of these aspects of Leibniz's thought in his History of Western Philosophy and the more benign neglect that we find in the popular English-language anthologies of Leibniz's writings.
A proper appraisal of Leibniz as a philosopher requires that we treat the Theodicy and the themes contained in it with the centrality that Leibniz himself seems to have accorded them. And there is good reason to think that this volume will encourage more people to step into the often murky waters that are found in Leibniz's only published book.
For that alone, we should be grateful.
The volume proper begins with "Prefacing the Theodicy," in which Christia Mercer makes a plea for paying close attention to the Theodicy's preface. Mercer emphasizes the importance of the preface as an advertisement for the way in which Leibniz's book is a series of attempts as the word Essais in the full title of the Theodicy suggests at offering a recipe for a "radical rationalist" approach to acquiring the virtue of piety that should be available independently of allegiance to any particular religion.
Mercer provides an important corrective for readers of the Theodicy who might expect to find themselves encountering a work of Christian apologetics. But she also includes an interesting discussion of the essai as a form of writing and an invitation to think harder about how Leibniz's employment of this term in his title might illuminate our understanding of the book as a whole.
Kristin Irwin's "Which Reason? Bayle on the Intractability of Evil" is the only contribution that focusses attention on Leibniz's official opposition throughout most of the Theodicy, namely Pierre Bayle. Irwin considers the way in which Leibniz's "Preliminary Dissertation" pitches his account of the relationship between faith and reason against that of Bayle and argues that Leibniz "fails to address Bayle's actual position on the use of reason in attempting to make sense of evil" p.
The problem as Irwin sees it is that Leibniz introduces his key distinction between things that are "above reason" and "against reason" without paying due attention to Bayle's view that the incompatibility between the existence of God and the existence of evil is intelligible to, and establishable by, reason.
In doing this, Irwin's paper provides a helpful discussion of Bayle and the way in which his view intersects with that of Isaac Jacquelot, whose approach shares common features with Leibniz's.
His central claim is that the position he took in the introduction to his edition of Malebranche's Dialogues on Metaphysics and on Religion Cambridge University Press,that "Leibniz's theodicy was a minor variation on a theme by Malebranche" was in fact "wide of the mark" p.
Jolley argues that, despite the fact that each of the two philosophers represents the other as a kindred spirit on the issue, a crucial gulf opens up between them in connection with the place that is accorded to original sin in their explanation of God's creation of a world with human suffering.
He argues that, whereas for Malebranche original sin plays a central role in his legitimation of God's activity, for Leibniz it plays no such role, and is in fact a doctrine that causes him some discomfort.
This difference manifests itself further in Jolley's discussion of how Leibniz and Malebranche accommodate the suffering of apparently innocent creatures, a category which for both philosophers includes animals, but which for Leibniz also includes at least some human beings.Mystical Theodicy.
Additional Resources. The following are additional rescources intended for students and address various theodicies in literature: Theodicy and Pope's Essay on Man. Leibniz's Theodicy.
Tennyson. Structure and Coherence. Tennyson's Prologue to the Strong Son of God: Faith and Doubt. Tennyson's "Song of Woe". True Theodicy within John Milton - John Milton was one of the smartest men in the world during his time, and he knew it.
Milton was a child prodigy, reading more books than most men do in a life time. Theodicy: An Overview. The linked page above offers a brief overview of the following: Mystical Theodicy.
Voltaire's Poem on the Lisbon Disaster (optional) Outline for Essay on Man Selections. Theodicy and Pope's Essay on Man. Leibniz's Theodicy. Tennyson. Structure and Coherence. Leibniz on the Problem of Evil First published Sun Jan 4, ; substantive revision Wed Feb 27, There is no question that the problem of evil vexed Leibniz as much as any of the problems that he engaged in the course of his philosophical career.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews is an electronic, New Essays on Leibniz's Theodicy. Indeed, the original versions of many of the papers can still be viewed on the Notre Dame's Center for the Philosophy of Religion's YouTube page. The stated aim of the conference was to.
In , G.W. Leibniz published Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil. This book, the only one he published in his lifetime, established Leibniz’s reputation more than anything else he wrote.