On Some Leibnizian Arguments for the Principle of Sufficient Reason

History of Philosophy Quarterly 37 (2):143-162 (2020)
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Abstract

Leibniz often refers to the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) as something like a first principle. In some texts, however, he attempts to give positive arguments in its favor. I examine two such arguments, and find them wanting. The first argument has two defects. First, it is question-begging; and second, when the question-begging step is excised, the principle one can in fact derive is highly counter-intuitive. The second argument is valid, but has the defect of only reaching a nearly trivial conclusion.

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Stephen Harrop
Texas A&M University

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