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Leibniz Summary Of The Discourse Notes

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This is an extract of our Leibniz Summary Of The Discourse document, which we sell as part of our Early Modern Philosophy Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Oxford students.

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Contents Texts used:..................................................................................................................................4 God.............................................................................................................................................4 Nature of God.........................................................................................................................4 God is an "absolutely perfect being...............................................................................4 God's perfect knowledge entails perfect moral and metaphysical actions....................4 The aim of God is principally for the felicity of spirits.................................................4 God wills actions good in themselves; permits but does not will actions bad in themselves......................................................................................................................4 God concurs with actions bad in themselves because of his regularity, and because he knows where goodness lies............................................................................................4 The first decree of God is to always do what is most perfect........................................4 Perfections and goodness.......................................................................................................4 A sufficient condition for perfection: admitting of a greatest degree............................4 The goodness of the works of God does not lie in God having made...........................4 Order of the universe..........................................................................................................5 God does nothing 'out of order' and hence the world is regular and determinate.........5 Miracles obey the same regularity as natural operations, but are not in conformity with the nature of things.................................................................................................5 Best possible world................................................................................................................5 'Underachiever'.................................................................................................................5 Rejection of the claim that God could have done better................................................5 Rejection of the idea that allowing for God having done better is allowing for the free action of God..................................................................................................................6 It is not enough to put up with our lot............................................................................6 God's will and his reasons for action are inscrutable to us............................................6 The simplicity of God's ways must be balanced against the richness, variety and abundances of their effects.............................................................................................6 God chooses the world that is simplest in hypotheses and richest in phenomena as the most perfect....................................................................................................................6 Substances and action................................................................................................................6 Identity of Indiscernibles........................................................................................................6 Statement in the Discourse: "it is not true that two substances should resemble each other entirely and differ solo numero (D9)"...................................................................6 1

The derivation of complete concepts.....................................................................................7 The Aristotelian definition of substance is true, but not enough....................................7 A true predicate is either an identity, or 'comprised virtually' within the subject, in esse.................................................................................................................................7 The notion of Alexander contains all the predicates that can be or will be said of him 7 Alexander's soul also 'reflects the whole universe'.......................................................7 Rejecting the problems of complete concepts........................................................................7 Complete concepts certainly appear problematic for free will, contingency distinct from necessity, and avoiding determinism.................................................................7W The nature of substances........................................................................................................8 Substances are indivisible and cannot be created or destroyed......................................8 Each substance is like a world in itself..........................................................................8 Each substance expresses (albeit confusedly) all that will and has happened in the universe..........................................................................................................................9 Contrary to Descartes, the nature of body does not lie solely in extension but requires something related to souls..............................................................................................9 Each substance represents a view of the universe from a given place...........................9 Phenomena maintain a certain order in conformity with the world within us, and so allow us to judge the future from the past reliably.........................................................9 Interactions between substances............................................................................................9 The perceptions or expressions of substances all correspond, due to their dependence on the eminence of God.................................................................................................9 Substances appear to act on each other, in accordance with common usage.................9 Knowledge...............................................................................................................................10 The classification of knowledge...........................................................................................10 Philosophy and mechanics/ natural philosophy...................................................................10 Substantial forms are not so far from the truth, but such considerations are independent of natural philosophy...............................................................................10 Personal identity...................................................................................................................10 Morality....................................................................................................................................10 We have a positive obligation to try and do good according to God's will, as best we can understand it..........................................................................................................10 Even if it turns out our actions were unsuccessful, this does not imply that God did not wish us to act as we did..........................................................................................10 Free will...............................................................................................................................10 2

The highest liberty is "to act perfectly, according to sovereign reason (D3)".............10

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