Leibniz on the Expression of God

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Leibniz frequently uses the notion of expression, but it is not easy to see just how he understood that relation. This paper focuses on the particular case of the expression of God, which is prominent in the 'Discourse on Metaphysics'. The treatment of expression there suggests several questions. Which substances did Leibniz believe expressed God? Why did Leibniz believe those substances expressed God? And did he believe that all substances expressed God in the same way and for the same reasons? In answering those questions the paper distinguishes two views about expression in the 'Discourse', considers Leibniz's reasons for holding that substances express their causes, and argues that Leibniz's views about emanative causation are important for understanding the unity of his apparently distinct views here. The paper concludes by looking briefly at how the 'Discourse' fits into the evolution of Leibniz's views on this issue over time.
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Archival date: 2014-09-06
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