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Introduction: Leibniz and Natural Teleology in the 18th Century

Abstract : The importance of teleology in the 18th century has mainly been studied from the point of view of a few specific authors. Leibniz is one of the most convinced advocates of the use of final causes in both physics and metaphysics. Despite its significance for the history of teleology, very few studies were in fact devoted to the influence of the Leibnizian doctrine during the 18th century. However, Leibniz’s reception allows us not only to understand his own views on teleology in comparison with those that 18th century thinkers attributed to him, but also to feed the conceptual debate on the legitimate articulation of finality and efficiency in natural philosophy in that period. Consequently, studies on 18th century physico-theology may help us to clarify the following questions: what is the difference between explanations concerning organic functions and in the architectonic use of the principle of optimum in physics? And how exactly do “the details of physics” illustrate the general harmony of the world? In order to clarify these kinds of questions, the present issue explores how Leibniz’s 18th century readers integrated in their own philosophical doctrines multiple interpretative possibilities opened up by Leibniz’s texts
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Submitted on : Saturday, October 30, 2021 - 11:51:20 AM
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Raphaële Andrault, Christian Leduc. Introduction: Leibniz and Natural Teleology in the 18th Century. Studia Leibnitiana, Franz Steiner Verlag, 2020, 50 (1), pp.2-9. ⟨10.25162/sl-2018-0001⟩. ⟨halshs-02792595⟩

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