Leggi di natura e mondi possibili. Leibniz, Wolff e Bilfinger

Di Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero

In: Verifiche Anno XLI, N.4, 2012 XLI , No. 4 ( 2012 )

Sezione Saggi / Articles


In the early 18th century, Leibniz’s claim that the laws of nature are contingent was taken to entail that the events taking place in our world are free from absolute necessity. This paper aims 1) to elucidate some points in Leibniz’s claim, also by reference to the present-day debate on the modal status of natural laws; 2) to reconstruct the “laws argument” for the contingency of the world, as developed in the 1720s by G.B. Bilfinger and C. Wolff; 3) to explain Wolff’s ultimate rejection of this argument. As Wolff realized, the assumptions implicit in the laws argument were not consistent with some major Leibnizian doctrines. It will be finally argued that Leibniz’s metaphysics prevents us from viewing the laws of nature as merely extrinsically related to substances.