Freedom in Leibniz’s Monadological System Essay

Freedom in Leibniz’s Monadological System Essay

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In The Monadology, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz creates a metaphysical system that attempts to explain the nature of the material world. Leibniz does not believe that the material world can be explained using mathematics and other scientific principals, so he develops a rational theory to give him the causal explanation that he needs. This system Leibniz creates, appeals to the sufficient reason that is God and the pre-established harmony of the monads that make up the material world. Leibniz sets out to prove that his system has a substantial account of freedom, however, the principles and the rationalization he defaults to makes freedom almost impossible. Therefore, Leibniz’s metaphysical system does not account for freedom.
Leibniz’s metaphysical system is broken up into two “realms.” The first realm is comprised of what Leibniz calls “monads.” A monad is a simple substance that cannot be broken down. Leibniz says, “there is also no way of explaining how a monad can be altered or changed in its inner being by any other created thing, since there is no possibility of transposition within it, nor can we conceive of any internal movement which can be produced, directed, increase or diminished there within the substance…The monads have no windows through which anything may come in or go out” (Mon. 7; p. 67-68). Leibniz is telling us here, that monads have all the knowledge that they will ever need, every action they take, or thought they will have is already inside of them. This is what Leibniz’s calls the Predicate in Notion Principle, that the predicate is contained in the subject. Not only do monads have within them all they need, but are also not material objects. “Now, where there are no constituent parts there is possible nei...


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... occurs in his idea of “hypothetical certainty.” He uses this as a link to a substantial account of freedom; however, he forgets that God creates a universe where, if I were meant to leave my door open, then I will leave my door open, because that is the best possible action. It is true that the best universe could not have within it any of the other infinitely possible universes, because that would mean simultaneous, contradicting contingencies. In other words, I could not open my door and leave my door closed in the same universe. So it must be that there is only one possible action that God would “certainly” allow. If God makes certain one action in the best universe, then God must make all actions certain in the best universe. Therefore, all actions in the best universe are necessary in that God chose those actions for that specific universe and none other.


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