Nikolai Lossky’s Evolutionary Metaphysics of Reincarnation

Sophia 59 (4):733-753 (2020)
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Abstract

The Russian philosopher Nikolai Onufrievich Lossky adhered to an evolutionary metaphysics of reincarnation according to which the world is constituted of immortal souls or monads, which he calls ‘substantival agents.’ These substantival agents can evolve or devolve depending on the goodness or badness of their behavior. Such evolution requires the possibility for monads to reincarnate into the bodies of creatures of a higher or of a lower level on the scala perfectionis. According to this theory, a substantival agent can evolve by being gradually reincarnated multiple times through a sort of process of metamorphosis from the level of the most elementary particles all the way up to the level of human beings or even higher. In ‘Ученiе Лейбница о перевоплощенiи какъ метаморфозѣ’, Lossky argues that the works of Leibniz contain scattered elements of such a systematic evolutionary doctrine of reincarnation as metamorphosis and he attempts to reconstitute this doctrine. The present article is intended as an historical introduction to the translation of Lossky’s ‘Leibniz’s Doctrine of Reincarnation as Metamorphosis.’

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Frederic Tremblay
University at Buffalo (PhD)

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