“The Modal Status of Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason”. Forthcoming in the Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
Short abstract: I argue that Leibniz is committed to the contingency of the PSR, given that he allows for the absolute possibility of PSR-violating entities such as atoms, vacua, and indiscernible bodies. I also resolve an apparent tension that this creates between the PSR and Leibniz’s theory of truth.
[Title omitted]. Revise and resubmit.
Short abstract: I argue that Leibniz grounds the PSR in his theodicy: God creates the best possible world, and a world in which the PSR is true is better than a world in which it is false. I also argue against three other possible grounds of the PSR, namely the nature of necessary and sufficient conditions, the nature of truth, and the world’s harmony. I conclude by suggesting a new way of understanding the relation between Leibniz’s PSR and his principle of the best.
“Clarke, Leibniz, and du Châtelet on the Existence of a Necessary Being”. Draft available.
Short abstract: I examine three early modern versions of the cosmological argument as advanced by Clarke, Leibniz, and du Châtelet. I argue that only Leibniz’s version survives a famous objection by Hume, which is that the non-existence of a real whole renders the necessary being without any explanatory function.
“Why does Leibniz’s God Create the Best Possible World?” Dissertation chapter, revisions in progress.
Short abstract: Leibniz argues that God creates the best possible world because God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good. This argument is often thought to require an extra premise. I consider and reject two suggestions for such a premise, namely the PSR and the Socratic nature of God’s will. Instead I argue that the missing premise is God’s desire to maintain his own happiness. I conclude by showing how this allows Leibniz to resist an influential objection by Robert Adams.