Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature by Donald Rutherford

By Donald Rutherford

This is often the main up to date and accomplished interpretation of the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). between its different virtues, it makes huge use of unpublished manuscript assets. The e-book seeks to illustrate the systematic cohesion of Leibniz's inspiration, during which theodicy, ethics, metaphysics and ordinary philosophy cohere. the major, underlying concept of the method is the belief of nature as an order designed via God to maximise the possibilities for the workout of cause.

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Before concluding this chapter it will be helpful to return to specifics and to look briefly at the system of universal harmony that Leibniz embraces as a basic model of the universe throughout his career. At the heart of this system is a conception of order distinctive to Leibniz's philosophy. This is what he calls the order of connection: an order according to which every state of the universe is united with every other, with the result, as he never tires of proclaiming, that "the present is pregnant with the future; the future can be read in the past; the distant is expressed in the proximate" (GP VI 604/AG 211).

BC II 558/W 186-7)31 By observing the principle of continuity in his creation of the world, God is able to realize the most complete series of beings possible: one in which there are no gaps between successive degrees of perfection. " The principle of continuity thus functions in a transparent way as a principle of optimal order: It suggests how to order created beings relative to one another such that the greatest total variety can be realized in a world. The design solution God favors is to actualize as many beings as can be accommodated according to a continuous ordering of degrees of perfection - an ordering to which nothing further can be added.

36 Put differently, for things to exist as ordered is for them to be subsumed under a law, rule, or principle, according to which they can be understood to be at once distinct and yet related. In Leibniz's view, it is impossible for any world to be lacking in order altogether. 37 Any variety God brings into existence, or merely conceives of bringing into existence, must be variety that is ordered by laws or principles. In considering which possible world to create, therefore, God does not deliberate about whether or not the world he creates should be ordered.

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