Leibnizian Deliberation


Leibniz is an eclectic and ecumenical philosopher. He often worked out philosophical positions that reconciled seemingly opposed theoretical systems and chastised people for rejecting certain views too quickly. In this paper, I describe one episode of Leibnizian reconciliation. My target is the phenomenon of deliberation. Traditionally, philosophers have offered two different accounts of deliberation based on two different accounts of the compatibility of freedom and determinism. Leibniz, I argue, cannot accept either account because of his broader theoretical commitments. This leads Leibniz to formulate an interesting account of deliberation that adopts certain elements from each account while excising the untoward aspects of each one. I outline the various mechanisms involved in deliberation on Leibniz's view and show how deliberation fits into a broader theory of free action. I close with an assessment of whether Leibniz in fact succeeds in offering an account of deliberation that is distinct from the traditional positions.