Source:

Textes inédits tome 2
Gaston Grua (ed)
pp 488-489



Date: early 1704?

Translated from the French



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LEIBNIZ: NOTES ON A DRAFT OF THE SECOND PART OF ISAAC JACQUELOT'S CONFORMITY OF FAITH WITH REASON, AGAINST BAYLE


[Gr p488]

     Part 2, chap. 3 p. 63 a (p.152). I would be of the opinion that if we were in a perfect indifference on the inside and outside, we could not choose. And it would not be sufficient to see the necessity of the choice, for there also has to be the means to choose, which is to say to prefer one side to another by some true or apparent inclination or reason. One could not even choose by lot as Mr Bayle suggests, if everything was midway between two options, and lots could not distinguish two equal cases anyway. There would have to be a reason to attribute heads to one and tails to the other rather than the contrary. And the perceptible or imperceptible reason that would allow us to distinguish the options, just by that, already proves that there is no perfect equivalence. Indeed, when we choose a path without thinking about it, there is a reason why we are determined to it, but an imperceptible one, and without there having been any deliberation. And these sorts of imperceptible reasons enter into our choices in the case of an apparent indifference.
     Chap 5, p. 71 b (p. 174). I do not see these terrible consequences that follow if one gives an imperishable soul to this infinite multitude of animals. Why would it be more permissible for Mr Gassendi to maintain everywhere imperishable material atoms than for me to maintain everywhere atoms of substance, [Gr p489] which is to say simple substances that preserve themselves always?
     Pag. 75 a (Chap 6, p. 184). Self love does not lead us too far because of our small amount of knowledge, otherwise we would see that we act against our own good.1
     Chap 9, p. 109 a (p. 264). We know today that the same quantity of motion is not conserved. I have nevertheless discovered that the same quantity of absolute force is conserved.
     Chap. 10, p. 114 a (p. 275). It would truly be a contradiction to say that there are as many centuries as hours.
     Chap. 12, p. 140 b (p. 337). I am delighted that he maintains that faith in time is justified.





NOTE:

1. Here Leibniz wrote and then deleted:
'Thus the source of moral evil is a privation.
     Chap 8. p. 93 (p. 223). I find this a priori argument to be against two very reasonable principles; and that it is unnecessary for him to admit two principles since one principle is sufficient.
     Malice is not a reality, as is goodness, it consists in the tendency towards a good of which one does not know the evil.'


© Lloyd Strickland 2003