Leibniz And Concurrentism : The Problem Of Using Leibnizian Reasons

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Leibniz and Concurrentism: The Problem of Using Leibnizian Reasons as Causal Powers

Monika Mahmutovic (301180032)
PHIL 451W Summer 2015
Instructor: Dr. Dai Heide
August 14, 2015

In On Nature Itself, Leibniz rather explicitly identifies himself as a steadfast opponent of occasionalism. His critique that occasionalism inevitably leads us to Spinozism stems from his observation that without the forces that are attributable to substances, no thing could persist through time. Leibniz’s main worry here lies in that if things lost their capacity to persist there could be no individuation of substances possible—all things would be reduced to being instantaneous, perishable modes of a single divine substance. In an effort to preserve the existence of individual substances, Leibniz moves to establish a concurrentist account of causation, endowing substances with real causal powers, even though limiting their causal efficacy to intrasubstantial causality . Leibniz’s solution, however, is not without its problems. It seems that Leibniz is going to have a difficult time in reconciling his notion of substances as causally active beings with the theological doctrine that claims that conservation is but continuous creation (hereafter, the CCC thesis)—a doctrine that he nevertheless intends to maintain. But, in the midst of this seeming contradiction, Sukjae Lee’s work in Leibniz’s Concurrentism (which I will be focusing on extensively in this

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