By Bas C. Van Fraassen
An introductory, ancient survey of philosophical positions on house and time, throughout the distinct idea of relativity and the causal conception of time.
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Additional resources for An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time and Space
Although systematic presentation of his thought was not set down by Leibniz until two years before his death, many of its main ideas guide the course of two major pieces of writing that occupied the later period of his philosophical endeavours. The first of these was the Essays on Theodicy: Of God’s Goodness, Man’s Freedom and the Origin of Evil, which, as the work’s subtitle intimates, is concerned largely to show how the existence of a perfect God is compatible with the evil that we find in his creation and how the pre-ordained course of events that he chose to create is compatible with human freedom.
They could not bypass that, since under Sufficient Reason there would then be no explanation available of how they might do so. Apart from God’s will in the matter, the best that is possible has no better claim on existence than the worst. Not just any set of possibilities makes up a possible world. First, of course, we know we have to do only with sets of possible substances, minds of one kind or another furnished with the perceptions and desires that are theirs. Then, each one of these is completely determinate in terms of the properties (the perceptions and desires) that it has.
Nevertheless, just because it turns its back on all need for the transmission of something mental to something physical (or vice versa), which had made Descartes’ explanation of interaction in terms of the will’s power to direct the waving of the pineal gland deep in the head so risible, Leibniz thinks he has answered one of the major metaphysical problems that his contemporaries and close predecessors had been unable to resolve. His conception of the unity of living organisms described above likewise seemed to him to have solved the other major difficulty in his period’s philosophy of mind, namely how to account for the intimate unity that there is between mind and body, which had also baffled Descartes.