Scholarship at Penn Libraries

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 2000


Leibniz used Descartes' strict notion of substance in "That a Most Perfect being is Possible" to characterize God but did not intend to undermine his own philosophical views by denying that there are created substances. The metaphysical view of substance in this passage is Cartesian. A discussion of radical substance without any sort of denial in the possibility of other substances does not indicate Spinozism. If this interpretation is correct, then the passage is neither anomalous nor mysterious. There is reason to believe that the passage expresses just the beliefs that we should expect Leibniz to hold in his De Summa Rerum period. Furthermore, this interpretation indicates that while Leibniz's metaphysics during this stage of his career is suggestively similar to Spinoza's, there is no evidence that Leibniz accepted Spinoza's pantheistic conclusion.


Postprint version. Published in Philosophy and Theology, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2000, pages 79-93.

NOTE: At the time of publication, author Nicholas Okrent was affiliated with Columbia University. Currently (March 2006), he is a librarian at the University of Pennsylvania Library.



Date Posted: 15 March 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.