The Ens Perfectissimum

Robert Merrihew Adams

in Leibniz: Determinist, Theist, Idealist

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780195126495
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870974 | DOI:
 The Ens Perfectissimum

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Leibniz conceives of God as a “most perfect being.” That means a being whose essence is the conjunction of all perfections, where a perfection is a simple quality and a positive quality – so purely positive that it involves no limitation at all. He also holds that the attributes of all finite substances are derived by limitation from God's perfections. Among the issues examined here about these views is the relation between Leibniz's and Spinoza's conceptions of the relation between God and finite things. The chapter concludes that the mature Leibniz has a solid conceptual basis for distinguishing his pluralism about substances from Spinoza's monism.

Keywords: attributes; God; finite substance; Leibniz; monism; perfection; pluralism; positive quality; simple quality; Spinoza

Chapter.  12523 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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