This book presents a comprehensive examination of Gottfried Leibniz's views on the nature of agents and their actions. Julia Jorati offers a fresh look at controversial topics including Leibniz's doctrines of teleology, the causation of spontaneous changes within substances, divine concurrence, freedom, and contingency, and also discusses widely neglected issues such as his theories of moral responsibility, control, attributability, and compulsion. Rather than focusing exclusively on human agency, she explores the activities of non-rational substances and the differences between distinctive types of actions, showing how the will, appetitions, and teleology are key to Leibniz's discussions of agency. Her book reveals that Leibniz has a nuanced and compelling philosophy of action which has relevance for present-day discussions of agency. It will be of interest to scholars and students of early modern philosophy as well as to metaphysicians and philosophers of action.
Julia Jorati is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Ohio State University. She has published numerous articles on Leibniz's metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and ethics, in publications including the Journal of the History of Philosophy, The Leibniz Review, Philosophy Compass, and several edited volumes.
Introduction; 1. Monads and their actions; 2. Spontaneity; 3. Teleology; 4. Attributability and divine concurrence; 5. Freedom; 6. Control, weakness, and compulsion; 7. Moral agency.