Leibniz on Privations, Limitations, and the Metaphysics of Evil

Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (2):281-308 (2014)
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There was a consensus in late Scholasticism that evils are privations, the lacks of appropriate perfections. For something to be evil is for it to lack an excellence that, by its nature, it ought to have. This widely accepted ontology of evil was used, in part, to help explain the source of evil in a world created and sustained by a perfect being. during the second half of the seventeenth century, progressive early moderns began to criticize the traditional privative account of evil on a variety of philosophical and theological grounds. Embedded in Scholastic Aristotelianism and applied to problems of evil, privation theory seemed to some like yet another instance of pre-modern pseudo-explanation.1Against this ..

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Samuel Newlands
University of Notre Dame


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