«Mes papiers sont assez en désordre»
Some Notes on the Philosophical Lnaguage and Metaphors of the Essais de Théodicée
Leibniz’s use of language in the Essais de théodicée follows the tendency of his time, viewing precise definitions of all terms as a sine qua non condition for rigorous scientific and philosophical discourse, thereby considering tropes as ornamental devices. At the same time, however, he employs metaphors, analogies, and similes to express his philosophical views. How to solve this apparent inconsistency? My analysis of the language of the Théodicée aims to corroborate the general assumption that metaphorical discourse plays a crucial role in the exposition of Leibniz’s most fundamental theses, and that the basic metaphors are never actually cashed out in non-metaphorical language. The motivation for it lies in the fact that different metaphors are certainly connected but at the same time irreducible to literal paraphrases, so that they illuminate together the nature of the relations between different facets of Leibniz’s philosophy.