Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et
l'origine du mal ("Essays of
Theodicy on the Goodness of God, the
Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil"), more simply known as
Théodicée, is a book of philosophy by the German polymath Gottfried
Leibniz. The book, published in 1710, introduced the term theodicy,
and its optimistic approach to the problem of evil is thought to have
Candide (albeit satirically). Much of the work
consists of a response to the ideas of the French philosopher Pierre
Bayle, with whom Leibniz carried on a debate for many years.
Théodicée was the only book Leibniz published during his
lifetime; his other book, New Essays on Human Understanding, was
published only after his death, in 1765.
In various works, including his famous Historical and Critical
Pierre Bayle had argued that there is no defensible
rational solution to the problem of why God permits evil. More
specifically, Bayle had argued that powerful philosophical arguments
can be given against a number of orthodox Christian teachings,
including the goodness, justice, and freedom of God. Leibniz responds
to Bayle's arguments in detail, arguing that it can be proved that God
is an infinitely perfect being, and that such a being must have
created a world that has the greatest possible balance of good over
evil ("the best of all possible worlds"). Leibniz distinguishes
three forms of evil: moral, physical, and metaphysical. Moral evil is
sin, physical evil is pain, and metaphysical evil is limitation.
God permits moral and physical evil for the sake of greater goods, and
metaphysical evil (i.e., limitation) is unavoidable since any created
universe must necessarily fall short of God's absolute perfection.
Human free will is consistent with God's foreknowledge, because even
though all events in the universe are foreseen and pre-determined,
they are not necessitated (i. e., logically necessary), and only if
human choices were necessitated would free will be an illusion.
Against Bayle's claims (derived from Augustine) that it is unjust for
God to damn unbaptized infants or adult non-Christians who had lived
as well as they could, Leibniz denies that Christian teaching supports
such claims. Against Bayle's claim that God cannot be free since he
cannot fail to choose the best, Leibniz argues that such "moral
necessity" is consistent with divine freedom. God would lack freedom
only if there are no possible worlds in which less than maximal
goodness exists, which is not the case, Leibniz argues.
Austin Farrer (1985). Introduction to Theodicy. La Salle: Open
Court. ISBN 0-87548-437-9.
^ Michael Murray (16 March 2005). "Leibniz on the Problem of Evil".
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 26 January
^ G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom
of Man, and the Origin of Evil. Translated by E. M. Huggard. Lasalle,
IL: Open Court, 1985, pp. 127-28.
^ Leibniz, Theodicy, p. 136.
^ Leibniz, Theodicy, p. 381.
^ Leibniz, Theodicy, p. 385.
^ Leibniz, Theodicy, p. 387.
The dictionary definition of théodicée at Wiktionary
Freiherr von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
Theodicy at Project Gutenberg
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Alternating series test
Best of all possible worlds
Identity of indiscernibles
Law of Continuity
Principle of sufficient reason
Transcendental law of homogeneity
De Arte Combinatoria
De Arte Combinatoria (1666)
Discourse on Metaphysics (1686)
New Essays on Human Understanding (1704)
Leibniz–Clarke correspondence (1715–1716)