Leibniz's Contemporary Modal Theodicy


In this essay, it is argued that Leibniz's theodicy is even stronger than it might first appear, but only if we also take into account his superessentialism, the view that every property of a substance is essential to it, and theory of compossibility, the notion that possible worlds are intrinsically possible just in case they are compossible—that is, they are internally consistent. After describing how we should understand these principles in Leibniz's thought, I argue that although there are obvious cases of evil in the best of all possible worlds, if such cases of evil did not occur, then the overall goodness of the actual world be diminished. Due to the unique nature of his solution to the problem of evil, Leibniz remains an important interlocutor even today in metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of religion.