Philosophy Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 1 - Question 5

90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 16-Nov-2018

Instructions for Writing Answer

1. Write your answers in the comment section.


2. Experts will provide their feedback in reply.

3. Model Answers will be uploaded on this page the next day.

4. Rectify your mistakes and progress further.

5. All the Best.

16-Nov-2018 - Question 1

Is there any place for freedom in Leibnitz's philosophy, when he speaks of "pre-established harmony"? Discuss(2018)

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Model Answer

Leibnitz is a rationalist mathematician. He tries to explain the world in a mechanistic and deterministic way. In this context, he propounded the concept of “pre-established harmony”


According to Leibnitz, ultimate constituents of reality are called Monads. They are indivisible units of force, un-extended, immaterial substances and essentially self-active in nature. Monads are self-centered entities and hence are “windowless”, they cannot act upon one another. They have infinite possibilities hidden in them. Monads compose the world and worldly objects. They are quantitatively different and qualitatively alike. This way, he maintained a mechanical description of nature. This deterministic view held that the world is the product of God’s will. Each monad behaves in accordance with its own created purpose.

The windowless monads follow their own purpose, form a unity or the ordered universe. Even though each monad is isolated from the other, their separate purposes from a large-scale harmony. It is as though several clocks all struck the same hour because they keep perfect time. Though each monad is a separate world in itself, as they mirror the whole universe, all their activities occur in harmony with each other. Leibnitz says such a harmony is not accidental but result of God’s activity and hence is pre-established.


A question arises – “If all Monads are harmonized by Pre-established Harmony”, and also contain within them the past, present and future and are driven completely by the self-centric nature, does that mean, as humans, we have no freedom, and that all actions are actually driven by necessity.?


To this, Leibnitz argues true freedom does not lie in necessity, it does not lie in spontaneity either. True freedom lies in the spontaneous unfoldment of the actions, guided by pure or clear perception. Thus, similar to Spinoza, Leibnitz propounds that, more our actions are guided by reason, and perception of the law of continuity and harmony, the more freedom there is.


Interestingly, Leibnitz believes that free will does not exist, instead, he contends that reality is causal, and every event has a reason for occuring.



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