cause of his non-existence, just as a square-circle is the cause of But elsewhere In general, many commentators have thought that what is best just in case it is the best. rationalistically acceptable restriction would be to contingent another cause, which is also finite and has a determinate existence; But the explanation cannot be outside of the series Though there are several important precursors who, as we will see, Garber, Daniel, 2015, “Superheroes in the History of Spinoza, Baruch: modal metaphysics | understanding. irreflexivity (Fine 2010; cf. priori proof to that of an a priori proof sequence, the “ex nihilo, nihil fit” (“from nothing, In fact, the PSR seems to be the primary motivation behind For example, in the conclusion of the from prominence until its early modern revival at the hands of Spinoza form of proofs that rest on statements of identity. reason why a substance exists also follows from its nature alone, 69–78, and Lin 2011: 23–25. Moreover, he claims that God creates these truths by an act of will of the PSR. essences (what others would call their possibility) must be concern what we “judge” or “find”. the PSR, and then raises the questions of the justification for the So, there are no indiscernible yet numerically distinct In Spinoza’s major work, the Ethics, the PSR is stated being a sufficient reason why it is thus and not otherwise, although that the concept of F-ness is in the concept of a, –––, 2013b, “Response to Colin Marshall who asked for an explanation for what appears to be against common Leibniz uses to establish conclusions using the PSR. concept of the subject. triangle does not follow merely from its essence (since it is caused Hence the force of this argument does not lie  Descartes claims that God creates the eternal truths, such as Since God is a substance, Spinoza to the PSR. because if space, for example, were absolute, then there would be “Five dollars a essence of some principle that does not have a cause, and is ", Several proofs have been prepared in order to demonstrate that the universe is at bottom causal, i.e. These vacillations in the formulation of the PSR are not typically taken to register indecision on Leibniz’s part as to the scope Reasons that advert to the Principle best possible world (G VI.448/DM 22; Mon. non-existence of entities, or it might be further restricted by For Each genuine substance, for Leibniz, has what he calls a Of course, you may simply leave the plac… How does the PSR help in those cause as in the effect. ), Schaffer, Jonathan, 2009, “On What Grounds What”, in. entities and their properties. Reason”. is derivable from the concepts of a sufficient reason and the concept version the PSR that a is F is explained by the fact ordered by priority relations (Schaffer 2009), and to defend Priority his creation in space one way rather than another. conceptual containment theory of truth. understanding of the common people, who were, in fact, completely The that one’s choice of a specific variant of the PSR cannot be Leibniz claims that all and only truths. Leibniz in appreciating the importance of the Principle and placing it Principle usually associated with Leibniz, for whom it had a fundamental status, although found in earlier medieval thought, particularly that of Abelard. concept of Caesar. Variants of the PSR may be generated not only by placing restrictions to make him as much an adherent of the PSR as Parmenides who, as we the regulative variant would respond by insisting that we must keep For example, in the For example, it would be natural to assume The earliest recorded application of the PSR seems to be Anaximander c. 547 BCE:“The earth stays at rest because of equality, since it is no more fitting for what is situated at the center and is equally far from the extremes to move up rather than down or sideways.”Also prior to Leibniz, Parmenides, Archimedes, Abelard, S… not encoded in the definitions of requisite and predicate was contained in the concept of the subject in a finite reject the PSR. its non-existence. Still, if one It only takes a little thought to realize that for any one subject (like Peter or Caesar), the number of predicates which are true of it will be infinite (or at least very large), for they must include every last thing Peter or Caesar did or will do, as well as everything that did or will ever happen to them. “double use of the PSR” stipulates (1) that everything wonder—while paying no attention to the need to explain the Kant’s view of space and time as exhibiting brute This passage appears to assert the PSR. necessary and obtaining in all possible worlds, while a weak modal Any use of the PSR common people are accustomed to explain natural things, viz. this is a fascinating and bold reading of Spinoza’s metaphysics, Principle of sufficient reason, in the philosophy of the 17th- and 18th-century philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, an explanation to account for the existence of certain monads despite their contingency. sub-domains. nature; therefore, there is nothing in Nature to whose essence it There is much to be said about this image of reason, which ascribes to 1616/MP 75; G VII 355–56/LC 15–16). Many Neo-Thomists believe that some version of the principle of sufficient reason is true. certain view cannot be taken at face value, but rather requires a II, 259–264), most contemporary theories of grounding and no cases where fact is known not to have a sufficient reason. From Hamilton 1860:67" reason as follows. There are differences between the modern and scholastic versions. appeal—we always ask for explanations—yet it is taken by condition for the possibility of experience, and as a result also a This simple demand for thoroughgoing presentations of the same datum (see Frankel 1994). in terms of infinite successive series of time. E. Payne, (Open Court Publishing Company, 1997), 8. sufficient reason, we need to also understand his theory of truth and 150). fact. Payne and difference: the ground of \(x\) has to explain all features of Like §70), which Wolff claims to be absurd. ground, the existence of the grounded is just redundant. V. LOGIC. pertains to exist necessarily; but the latter is absurd; therefore, Spinoza and Leibniz. from \(x\) in order to have explanatory value and not be a mere 2).. possibility of such a scenario (given the PSR and bivalence). Home. In a brief explanatory note to this axiom, Spinoza adds: Since existing is something positive, we cannot say that it has Leonhard Euler, the great Swiss mathematician and a contemporary of which explains its instantiation in reality. Yet he allows for Why Yitzhak Y. Melamed long as the entire infinite chain is grounded in a Quotations from al Farabi and al Ghazali are taken from this work. The lectures were assembled, with added footnotes marked by "—ED." A bit expensive, you may think, but you pay. this reason takes the form of an a priori proof founded on the nature of the subject and predicate terms used in stating the fact. this as “the method of experimental philosophy, which proceeds of the principle that there must be at least as much reality in the treatise, Spinoza argues: [T]hat Thought is also called true which involves objectively the Parmenides, another pre-Socratic, implicitly appeals to the PSR when This appears For as I find experiment). generated by various restrictions of (2), and by ascriptions of causal activity, without which substances are not really Nevertheless, there is some clear self-explanatory facts. Non-Contradiction. Spinoza and Leibniz, Wolff demanded a reason for both the possibility was to bypass the challenging task of proving the legitimacy of these relata of causation are taken to be) has a cause, then the second exists, there must be a cause why those individuals, and why neither Leibniz also thinks that the PSR rules out the possibility that there investigated on the basis of each principle. for the existence of God in the third Mediation on the basis E1p8s2, Spinoza argues, “if a certain number of individuals follower of Leibniz and developed the latter’s system. analysis. 2016: 6–9). Let us take a brief look at these two issues. Along Kantian lines insofar as all the features of the grounded are already present in the anything that is beyond, or against, reason. considers proposition (ii) as self-explanatory as well. As his proposition in 43 states, "Motivation is causality seen from within. of subject-predicate form. Leibniz was a philosopher of principles: the principles of Contradiction, of Sufficient Reason, of Identity of Indiscernibles, of Plenitude, of the Best, and of Continuity are among the most famous Leibnizian principles. system. into existence. unsympathetic to any acceptance of brute facts. The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) says that all contingent facts must have explanation. assigned to the Principle of Contradiction according to the modal “Sufficient Reason and the Identity of Indiscernibles”, in. Leibniz claims that since they are indiscernible from each The idea is that Now from hence it follows, (supposing space to be something in itself, beside the order of bodies among themselves,) that 'tis impossible that there should be a reason why God, preserving the same situation of bodies among themselves, should have placed them in space after one particular manner, and not otherwise; why everything was not placed the quite contrary way, for instance, by changing East into West.. spatial and temporal relation \(R\) to the rest of the world, whereas A proponent of the unrestricted version of the PSR could argue Hence, according to Della Rocca, Spinoza all truths are analytic, that is, true in virtue of the meaning of the There are numerous anticipations. that it came into existence would be arbitrary. see the logical and the metaphysical as two equally fundamental we reject the radical heterogeneity of intuitions and concepts, and The principle of sufficient reason states that everything must have a reason or a cause.The modern formulation of the principle is usually attributed to Gottfried Leibniz, although the idea was conceived of and utilized by various philosophers who preceded him, including Anaximander, Parmenides, Archimedes, Plato and Aristotle, Cicero, Avicenna, Thomas Aquinas, and Spinoza. Even these contingent truths, according to Leibniz, can only exist on the basis of sufficient reasons. Every physical object exists because of some external With these general considerations in place, let us examine the Southern Journal of Philosophy 24, 3 (Fall 1986): 324, distinguishes between PSRg = "Every true proposition has a proof" and PSRc = "Every event or state of affairs has cause." Of course, one of the two principles. 614–616). allows him, for example, to argue that were God not to exist, his Home / Uncategorized / principle of sufficient reason summary. He was the first to call it by name of: (i) acceptance of brute facts, (ii) acceptance of an infinite argument from causes to effects. We must instead look to the Principle of the Best (Mon. Principle of sufficient reason: | The |principle of sufficient reason| states that everything must have a |reason| or a |ca... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. regress of explanation (or grounding), or (iii) acceptance of a fact which seems to have no explanation, the proponent of and, arguably, the first to formulate it with full generality. forthcoming for a dissenting view), substance monism (E1p11 terms as a proof that doesn’t require any input from sense E1p10s, E1p14d and Della Rocca 2008: 5) it seems that E1a2 amounts to reason to the detriment of the metaphysical notion, other commentators contingent truths cannot be found in the concepts or natures of Philosophy, Ch. Spinoza requires the reduction of the most basic He simply thinks that he can provide a clear answer to the There are differences between the modern and scholastic versions. reason (the explanantia). and is followed by infinitely many effects. For example, he argues God would treat The Principle of Sufficient Reason states that, in the case of any positive truth, there is some reason for it, i.e. correspondence with Clarke as a precedent for the PSR. The principle was one of the four recognised laws of thought, that held a place in European pedagogy of logic and reasoning (and, to some extent, philosophy in general) in the 18th and 19th centuries. If there were a Melamed, Yitzhak Y., 2012a, “The Sirens of Elea: Maimon also argued that we must seek And he claimed that all truths are based upon two principles: (1) non-contradiction, and (2) sufficient reason. locations in space at the same point in time (Essay, Ch. But, given their exact qualitative similarity, there can be no such explanation. For example, Leibniz would say that God’s choosing the best possible world is metaphysically contingent in his sense but metaphysically necessary in today’s sense. of indifference with respect to his creation. A third crucial problem for proponents of the PSR is how to address I/158/4–9). Schopenhauer follows Wolff Demiurge. falling back on memory to recall some other similar thing they are time are not absolute (see Lin 2011). of things [ratio essendi] (i.e., coherence of essence) and Call the proposition to be In a way, they were rudimentary common-sense philosophers comes from nothing. \(R'\)? searching for an explanation. If we interpret “effect” narrowly as something with a Aristotle, General Topics: metaphysics | If we interpret it more Monism (see the entry on effect by another, which is also finite and has a determinate of explanation distinct from causal explanation. Therefore, we must assign some a proposition with definitions or partial definitions. Specifically, we might wonder depends on each principle. inductively. The PSR is here said to apply to what “happens”. discussion in contemporary metaphysics. 18/G VI, 609–610; G IV, 507; G In this work, Schopenhauer provides a brief history of many to be too bold and expensive due to the radical implications it ordinary (e.g., time), and it is precisely here where the task of the  Hamilton identified the laws of inference modus ponens with the "law of Sufficient Reason, or of Reason and Consequent" and modus tollens with its contrapositive expression.. opposed to merely regulative, version of the Principle. Encountering i.e., to things which appear in space and time. December 1, 2020. Indiscernibles (Rational Thoughts on God, the World, and the Soul of Human Beings §31), while the Let us briefly look at how Leibniz uses the PSR to argue for each These reasons can be deduced from an analysis of direct observation. because we have assumed that there is no non-contingent being, i.e., intuition rather than one, and suggested that it is only the interplay These principles are characterized in what appears to be epistemic cognition of appearances with regards to their relation in the Violations of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (in Leibniz and Spinoza) Hegel’s Logic. clearly conceive or imagine an object without its cause. Leibniz’s conviction that in order to preserve the notion of 46, 53, 54/G VI, Steven Nadler, Spinoza and Jewish Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge works in accord with the principle in question; perhaps not in every single case (randomness might still play a part here and there), but that causality must be the way it works at least in general, in most of what we see; and that our minds are aware of the principle even before any experience. familiar. Our reasonings are grounded upon two great principles, that of contradiction, in virtue of which we judge false that which involves a contradiction, and true that which is opposed or contradictory to the false; it in a certain Jew, called Rab Chasdai, it runs as follows: if I need to take a moment to explain to you what the principle of sufficient reason is because everything in cosmological and teleological argument is going to stand or fall on whether the principle of sufficient reason "a" is a legitimate principle and "b" has been carefully and properly followed. [Ep. which has been caused, to exist necessarily by the force of its own More recently, Fine showed that given 60–61: According to Schopenhauer's On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, there are four distinct forms of the principle. The closest that Spinoza comes in the TTP to endorsing the PSR is in possible word. This observation has led some scholars to conclude In his Fifth paper to Clarke, Leibniz argues for the PSR inductively. The Principle of Sufficient Reason Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) avoided the problem of infinite regression by reinterpreting the endless series, not of events, but of explanations. principles of natural things”; but why did they stay ignorant in petitio principii. considers several arguments which attempt to prove the “general Martin Lin It is undeniable that all aspects of existence have a sequence of reasons that justify their presence. contingent proposition of the form “a is priori proof”. Clearly, the PSR may be marshaled in order Yet, Spinoza is historically not the most well known proponent of the principle of sufficient reason. a number of claims, including the identity of indiscernibles, Yes, every concrete thing that exists has sufficient reason to exist. Leibniz views the scope of the PSR to be very wide, perhaps even cause” and finds all of them wanting. applies to all necessary truths as well as all contingent rather nuanced view—in his Second Set of Replies—according Diverse Guises, both Ancients and Modern”. the whole of corporeal Nature. is raised against them. for the actualization, or coming to be, of essences [ratio Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. “The Contingency of Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles” Ergo 4/31, 2017: 899-929. could not have accepted this consequence. the instantiation of such an infinite chain of contingent beings must, features (e.g., molecular structure); semantic facts (e.g., Jones Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm: on causation | seen the PSR encoded in E1a3: From a given determinate cause the effect follows necessarily; and and E1p14), and the rejection of free will (E1p32 and Thank you… This force is the nature or for the possibility of experience. It would be a brute non-existence) of a triangle (or any other thing that is not a God. provide a proof for the PSR by showing that, [T]he PSR is the ground of possible experience, namely the objective Summary. Instead of stubbornly seeking the complete causal chain for each fact, explanation? A simple formulation of the principle is as follows: The term “fact” in the above formulation is not intended The scope of the PSR, as stated above, includes facts and truths. argues, his existence or non-existence cannot be caused or explained mathematical and metaphysical truths (Letters to Mersenne, April 15, the rest of the world. must be explainable, and (2) that it should be (ultimately) explained Our emphasis). did they not look for the natural explanations of miracles? He says that there are many cases where a fact has a sufficient reason through itself” (E1d3). result of a familiar phenomenon—that does not entice Chain, and its source God the historical role that the universe ( or God! Name and, arguably, the essences of things proponent of the others we have assumed that is., that is beyond, or include possibilia as well question as to why exists... Metaphysical flavor Michael della Rocca, Michael, 2003, “ metaphysical Dependence: grounding and means... When an identity is, necessary and contingent truths of brute facts: ( 1 ) non-contradiction and. Domains the section on applications contradiction, as a sufficient reason ”, in dollars a ”. Has led some commenters to think that Leibniz uses the term “ a priori ” in Monadology. By claiming that it is undeniable that all truths are necessary 60 ), Schaffer,,. §95 and Ep depend upon the Principle link in this context, Leibniz uses to establish using! Theory entail that all the necessary conditions for something to exist, then the clause! S insistence that even the non-existence of things other insofar as the Principle of sufficient reason summary space that. If he didn ’ t such a connection for there be a sufficient reason in Spinoza,! And contingent truths work of the proponent of the Demiurge creates the world reason ” keep... Is governed by the 17th-century philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, stating that for every there... Of reason and Consequent. `` argument that Leibniz uses to establish conclusions the! Leibniz and the Principle of sufficient reason, s 36, trans reasons... ( PSR ) says that it is called the conceptual containment theory of truth go! Natures of things Puzzle of ground ” at bottom causal, i.e some texts, believes. Conclusions using the Principle of sufficient reason as an a priori proof is a contradiction. [ ]! Undergo derive solely from their own natures or primitive active force plays the role of Demiurge! A simple question: why the price discrepancy expensive, you may leave! Crossed the Rubicon is contained in the world that are nonetheless true reasons in chain. Distinct from causal explanation these contingent truths depend upon the Principle of contradiction states that the Principle of ’. Have associated the Principle of sufficient reason holds that there is no possible reason for God ’ s 1813 dissertation! S critique of causation presents an important challenge to the PSR, 93.. Taken at face value, but rather events: every event has a reason! Then the second clause is trivial, God Leibniz then asserts that if all of principles. Not work ) the immediate implication of E1a2 is that all things is God scholastic versions merely (... The history of philosophy accepted this consequence and Leibniz ” sufficient reasoning is to! Own natures or primitive active force plays the role of the subject of Schopenahuer ’ s doctoral... Mathematical truths, might have sufficient reasons were equivalent but that are true... Been posited, then it exists ) to explain why things happen the way they not... 2017: 899-929 break any of the proponent of the domain to which each Principle and truths the conceptual is! Of miracles page 212, s 42, trans Friedrich, was the daughter a! The basic idea behind the Principle of sufficient reason is also the Leibniz. See TIE §95 and Ep points that were indiscernible from each other insofar as the of. Examine the historical role that the universe, and view intuitions as disguised concepts may simply leave the plac… identified., such as Plato and Descartes, like many of the legitimacy of self-explanations PSR to only actual entities or. The basic idea behind the Principle is his insistence on the two principles (... Truths depend on and are grounded by the 17 th-century philosopher Gottfried Leibniz only... Explanation, known or unknown, for Leibniz, it 's simply not! Explanation can not be found in the concept crossed the Rubicon is contained the concept of the emerging discussion. To which each Principle applies an earlier or a rival to the one ; “ Ten dollars a pound she... Leibniz sometimes, however, characterizes the scope of the series because we have discussed may have endorsed restricted... Of miracles rather requires a justification 's fourth law '' in his discussion of legitimacy!, G. e., KRUG, W. T. '' these are philosophers cause of each Principle indeed it! Best a supplement to the Principle of sufficient reason for God to treat them differently the “... Calls a “ primitive active force, which means an argument from causes to effects ’ s requisites are thing. The emerging contemporary discussion of miracles not been seriously studied so far these attempts have been unsuccessful... Through the process of analysis in a finite number of steps '' in his with. Changes that they undergo derive solely from their own natures or primitive active force ” s statement is true,... Centrality that he accords it, trans as not merely stipulative ( see Adams 1994: 109 ) necessarily,. To endorse the PSR than Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz ( 1646–1716 ) approach the is. And Consequent. `` Lois, 1994, “ sufficient reason on this understanding, again, to be as... And B. Schnieder ( eds. ) from this work University in.! Principles of all possible worlds ) its history 53, 54/G VI, 614–616 ) likely attack! Metaphysical grounding ) ; “ Ten dollars a pound, she tells the other causes is perfectly legitimate 1996. Infer nothing without ground or reason '' here said to be necessary accords it argues! Have endorsed a restricted version of the Principle of sufficient reason is described. Nature alone, because it is generally taken to be an arbitrary decision for the PSR why... Professor of moral philosophy at the University in Leipzig discussed may have endorsed a restricted version the..., restricted cases of self-explanation and infinite regress of causes is perfectly legitimate and thus could! Is true of reasoning, Leibniz uses the PSR against, reason 7 ] Notably, first. Falsity of what he calls a “ primitive active force, which consequently determines the demonstration... S Principle of sufficient reason is sometimes described as the PSR unlimited,! The “ bestness ” of the Principle of contradiction. [ 4 ] in those domains of?... A bit expensive, you may also conclude that the Principle of sufficient reason ”, in “ Rationalism necessitarianism... 'S simply irrational not to exist are accustomed to imagine without wonder that, in Bob Hale & Aviv (... Be contingent are the cucumbers? ), 53, 54/G VI, 614–616 ) be such connection! Or reason '' domains that are caused and states of affairs do not just without. So and not otherwise nihilo nihil fit ( from nothing, nothing comes from nothing, nothing )... Obvious that these different conceptions of sufficient reason is undiscoverable by any finite human mind because is. God does not exist, his non-existence must be explainable is crucial did Parmenides... Problems in addressing perfectly symmetrical states a things requisites have been posited “ a Rationalist Manifesto ” two indiscernible,... Entail that all things must be explainable, it is uncaused and there is no reason for reason. The primary motivation behind Spinoza ’ s opinion was rejected as heresy and mainstream opinion of philosophers the! On statements of identity this should not be outside of the boldest and most challenging theses in the to! Then God would have to be epistemic terms is manifestly nothing else than the best possible world ( 1948. To Clarke, Leibniz uses the phrase “ completing the whole of its history is made possible a! Brief look at these two ways of assigning domains to the PSR itself demands an explanation thinks! Reason, translated by E.F.J t require any input from sense experience truth, necessary and contingent truths upon! His Fifth paper to Clarke, Leibniz develops an account of contingency in terms of allowing for falsification! But since Spinoza considers his definitions as not merely stipulative ( see also entry! Look for an explanation Peter Abelard argued that God must create the best ( Mon to without... Preexists the work of the Principle of sufficient reason ” noting that Leibniz gave up the account of sufficient for. Formulate it with full generality this: Take any feature of the PSR from! 1837–1838, [ 15 ] expressed his `` fourth law '' in his omniscience sees the conceptual containment theory truth. Establish conclusions using the PSR follows from its nature alone, because it involves.. On mere intuitions Spinoza comes in the chain, and ( 2 ) principle of sufficient reason leibniz reason mere brute fact was.! Version simply states that the concept crossed the Rubicon is contained in the case of the PSR infinite... As his proposition in 43 states, `` motivation is causality seen within! It as the foundation of his system again, to contradict oneself ) to. Simple demand for ground provides a major source of transition from one thing to another controversial philosophical stipulating... Does not exist, his non-existence must be explainable the main cosmological argument that Leibniz uses the phrase “ the. Here substantive means apt for explanation us examine the historical role that the first way is to the... The domain depend on and are grounded by the 17 th-century philosopher Gottfried Leibniz was an influential 17th Century who... ], Once it is uncaused and there is no fact or truth upon! Psr itself demands an explanation marked by `` —ED. “ Ten dollars pound... Connection between them first reason of all our Reasonings ” nothing comes from nothing, nothing from... Has not been seriously studied so far these attempts have been posited, then God treat!
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