On What There Already Is
Leibniz’s Theory of Time
This paper contains an investigation of Leibniz’s ontology of time. Standard debates on Leibniz’s theory of time hinge upon the question whether the nature of time is relative or absolute and focus mainly on the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence. Focusing instead on Theodicy and referring to the contemporary frame and debate, I address some different questions: whether Leibniz is an A-theorist or a B-theorist, or an advocate of a hybrid form of an A/B theory; and whether he is a presentist (who thinks that only present things and states of affairs exist) or an eternalist (who claims that past, present and future things and states of affairs are equally real). After careful analysis of several passages that seemingly support a presentist interpretation, I conclude that under the most charitable interpretation Leibniz should be considered as an eternalist, and precisely as a dynamical one. I further argue that Leibniz’s peculiar views on modality mirror this hybrid theory of time.