Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: The Existence Of Evil

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In “Theodicy”, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz argues for philosophical optimism. Perhaps the strongest argument provided by Leibniz relies on the claim that the contrasting yet complementary nature of evil and goodness allows us to better appreciate God and why he lets evil exist. In this paper, I will defend Leibniz’s argument by showing that the existence of evil, no matter how much, facilitates the opportunity for a greater good to arise.

In “Essays on the Justice of God and the Freedom of Man in the Origin of Evil,” Leibniz argues that God in his supreme wisdom and connection to all existence can only have chosen to create the best world or universe possible because “if it were not the best among all possible worlds, God would not have produced any. (p.128)” In other words, given the many worlds that there may have been to choose from, if it was not the best possible then that world would ultimately not have been made at all. Further explanation by Leibniz follows that.” if the smallest evil that comes to pass in the world was missing in, it would no longer be this world (p.128).” Evil exists in our world not because God is cruel but that if evil did not exist then our world would not exist. Allowing evil was the best choice that God could make. Leibniz claims that God does not only perform acts of goodness but that he has a role in both the good and evil that occur in our world. God, “by permitting of sins” has enabled even “greater goods than such as occurred before sins” (p.130). The period following the entrance of a sin “has been, in effect, better than another sequence without sin. (p.130).”An example of this would be the case of the appearance of Jesus Christ who came to be through sin.

There are many arguments provi...

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... by my shattering my shattering my legs will teach me the value of the fragility of the human body. I would add on to his reasoning that my unfortunate circumstance has given me a newfound respect toward the physically handicapped. In response to the repetition of the news broadcasts Leibniz might claim that it allows us to experience virtues such as sympathy as well as bring into light the problems with building too many high rises or high density neighborhoods in areas with questionable geographical safety. I would go on to add to this that although many had died their deaths could possibly allow more actions to take place now that can save many more lives than were lost.

In conclusion, I have argued that this is indeed the best of all possible worlds even when taking into account the existence of evil, and that Leibniz’s arguments supporting this claim are true.
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