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date: 24 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter attempts to clarify Leibniz’s theories of freedom and contingency by viewing them against the backdrop of his efforts to reengineer important philosophical concepts. In developing a concept of freedom, Leibniz is above all concerned to preserve divine and human responsibility (Section 1). His account of freedom requires him to reject necessitarianism, that is, the view that all things are absolutely necessary (Section 2). Leibniz therefore carves out two concepts of contingency. The first is centered on the thought that something may be contingent considered by itself – that is, per se – even if it is necessary in light of God’s goodness or will (Section 3). The second is centered on the thought that it may be possible to draw a distinction between contingent and necessary propositions in terms of logic alone (Section 4).

Keywords: Leibniz, freedom, contingency, necessity, necessitarianism, logic

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