• Phenomenalism and the Reality of Body in Leibniz's Later Philosophy
    Studia Leibnitiana 22 (1): 11-28. 1990.
    In der neuen Literatur tiber Leibniz' Spatphilosophie findet man zwei deutlich einander entgegengesetzte Theorien Uber die Realitat des Körpers. Auf der einen Seite gibt es Gesichtspunkte, die ihn mit einer Phänomenalismuslehre verbinden, nach welcher die Körper nichts anderes als koordinierte Perzeptionen unausgedehnter Monaden sind. Auf der anderen Seite gibt es Griinde, die dafur sprechen, daß Leibniz die Auffassung vertreten muß, daß Körper Aggregate von Monaden sind. In diesem Aufsatz suche…Read more
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    2. Simple Substances and Composite Bodies (§§ 1–5)
    In Hubertus Busche (ed.), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Monadologie, Akademie Verlag. pp. 35-48. 2009.
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    Leibniz on compossibility
    Philosophy Compass 4 (6): 962-977. 2009.
    Leibniz's well-known thesis that the actual world is just one among many possible worlds relies on the claim that some possibles are incompossible , meaning that they cannot belong to the same world. Notwithstanding its central role in Leibniz's philosophy, commentators have disagreed about how to understand the compossibility relation. We examine several influential interpretations and demonstrate their shortcomings. We then sketch a new reading, the cosmological interpretation, and argue that …Read more
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    Leibniz: Determinist, Theist, Idealist (review)
    Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 61 (1): 226-229. 1994.
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    Nietzsche as perfectionist
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (1): 42-61. 2018.
    Thomas Hurka has argued that Nietzsche’s positive ethical views can be formulated as a version of perfectionism that posits an objective conception of the good as the maximization of power and assigns to all agents the same goal of maximizing the perfection of the best. I show that Hurka’s case for both parts of this interpretation fails on textual grounds and that the kind of theory he proposes is in conflict with Nietzsche’s general approach to morality. The alternative reading for which I arg…Read more
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    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume XI (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2022.
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy is an annual series, presenting a selection of the best current work in the history of early modern philosophy. It focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the extraordinary period of intellectual flourishing that begins, roughly, with Descartes and his contemporaries and ends with Kant. It also publishes work on thinkers or movements outside of that framework, provided they are important in illuminating early modern thought. The core of the s…Read more
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    Reading Descartes as a Stoic
    Philosophie Antique 14 129-155. 2014.
    Bien que Descartes n’emploie que rarement les mots officium ou « devoir », sa morale confère une place centrale à la notion d’action appropriée, dans un sens qui rappelle le kathekon des stoïciens. Cette notion enveloppe les devoirs de l’être humain envers Dieu et envers les autres êtres humains, ainsi que les actions qui trouvent leur justification dans le fait qu’elles favorisent la conservation et la santé du corps. Tout en relevant ces parallèles, je montre également que Descartes, dans son …Read more
  • Justice and circumstances : theodicy as universal religion
    In Larry M. Jorgensen & Samuel Newlands (eds.), New Essays on Leibniz’s Theodicy, Oxford University Press. 2014.
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    Leibniz denies that the actual world possesses the per se unity of a substance. Instead, he seems to hold, the world is limited to the mind-dependent unity of an aggregate. Against this answer, criticized by Kant in his Inaugural Dissertation, I argue that for Leibniz the unity of the actual world is not grounded simply in God’s perception of relations among created substances but in the common dependence of those substances on a unitary cause. First, the actual world is one because every create…Read more
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    Leibniz's Metaphysics: A Historical and Comparative Study (review)
    Philosophical Review 101 (4): 853-855. 1992.
  • Leibniz as Idealist
    In Daniel Garber & Steven Nadler (eds.), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume Iv, Oxford University Press. 2008.
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    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume IX (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy presents a selection of the best current work in the history of early modern philosophy. It focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the extraordinary period of intellectual flourishing that begins, very roughly, with Descartes and his contemporaries and ends with Kant.
  • Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume Viii (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy presents selection of the best current work in the history of early modern philosophy. It focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the extraordinary period of intellectual flourishing that begins, very roughly, with Descartes and his contemporaries and ends with Kant.
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    Monads
    In Maria Rosa Antognazza (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Leibniz, Oxford University Press. pp. 356-380. 2013.
    This article discusses the final development of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s metaphysics: the theory of monads. It examines Leibniz’s arguments for monads as mindlike “simple substances,” his description of the properties of monads, and the distinction he draws among different types of monads. The remainder of the article focuses on two problems that attend Leibniz’s claim that reality ultimately consists solely of monads and their internal states (perceptions and appetitions). The first problem …Read more
  • The Actual World
    In Maria Rosa Antognazza (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Leibniz, Oxford University Press. pp. 65-85. 2013.
    This chapter discusses Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s theory of the actual world as the best of all possible worlds. The chapter opens with Leibniz’s response to the two most basic questions of metaphysics: Why is there something rather than nothing? And, why do certain things exist while other equally possible things do not? It examines Leibniz’s critique of Baruch Spinoza’s metaphysics, with particular reference to the argument that God must make a choice among possible worlds because not all pos…Read more
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    In Pursuit of Happiness
    Philosophical Topics 31 (1-2): 369-393. 2003.
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    Leibniz's Principle of Intelligibility
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 9 (1): 35-49. 1992.
  • Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy: Volume Iv (edited book)
    Oxford University Press UK. 2012.
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy is an annual series, presenting a selection of the best current work in the history of early modern philosophy. It focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries -- the extraordinary period of intellectual flourishing that begins, very roughly, with Descartes and his contemporaries and ends with Kant. It also publishes papers on thinkers or movements outside of that framework, provided they are important in illuminating early modern thought.
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    Malebranche's Theodicy,'S. Nadler'
    In Steven Nadler (ed.), The Cambridge companion to Malebranche, Cambridge University Press. pp. 165--89. 2000.
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    Leibniz: nature and freedom (edited book)
    with Donald Rutherford and J. A. Cover
    Oxford University Press. 2005.
    The revival of Leibniz studies in the past twenty-five years has cast important new light on both the context and content of Leibniz's philosophical thought. Where earlier English-language scholarship understood Leibniz's philosophy as issuing from his preoccupations with logic and language, recent work has recommended an account on which theological, ethical, and metaphysical themes figure centrally in Leibniz's thought throughout his career. The significance of these themes to the development …Read more
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    Leibniz: An intellectual biography (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (1). 2009.
    This is a superbly crafted and exhaustively researched account of the development of Leibniz’s thought, his ambitious plans and undertakings, his myriad intellectual engagements, and his ceaseless comings and goings across Europe. It captures, accurately and in great detail, the remarkably expansive mind of a singularly creative thinker. It is an extraordinary achievement, for the task of writing an intellectual biography of Leibniz is huge. To read even a portion of what he wrote and read, in t…Read more