Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Philosophy


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Timothy P. Yenter

Second Advisor

Neil Manson

Third Advisor

Robert Westmoreland

Relational Format



This paper addresses two related issues of logic in the philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz. The first problem revolves around Leibniz’s struggle, throughout the period of his mature philosophy, to reconcile his metaphysics and epistemology with his antecedent theological commitments. Leibniz believes that for everything that happens there is a reason, and that the reason God does things is because they are the best that can be done. But if God must, by nature, do what is best, and if what is best is predetermined, then it seems that there may be no room for divine freedom, much less the human freedom Leibniz wished to prove. I conclude the first part of the paper by arguing that Leibniz’s defenses cannot withstand a contemporary logical analysis, and his project is doomed to fail. In the second half of the paper, I explore Leibniz’s use of the traditional laws of logic – particularly the Principle of Non-Contradiction. I examine some criticisms of Leibniz’s employment of the principles by Kant and his allies and, in the end, determine that, while Leibniz ought to have been a bit more careful in his deployment of the principles, the Kantian criticisms are not devastating.

Included in

Philosophy Commons



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