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Leibniz on Final Causes

From: Journal of the History of Philosophy
Volume 44, Number 2, April 2006
pp. 217-233 | 10.1353/hph.2006.0022

Abstract

In this paper, I investigate Leibniz's conception of final causation. I focus especially on the role that Leibnizian final causes play in intentional action, and I argue that for Leibniz, final causes are a species of efficient causation. It is the intentional nature of final causation that distinguishes it from mechanical efficient causation. I conclude by highlighting some of the implications of Leibniz's conception of final causation for his views on human freedom, and on the unconscious activity of substances.



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