Tales of Destiny
Logic and Rhetoric in Leibniz’s Myths for Theodicy
Leibniz’s theodicean arguments also make room for narrative structures such as stories or fables. Does this move simply meet the rhetorical needs of a popular exposition, or does it express some deeper constraint to illustrate through a narrative structure what cannot be wholly captured by the resources of demonstrative reason? A comparative analysis of two relevant texts – the fable of Sextus at the end of Theodicy and the less-known tale in De libertate, fato, gratia Dei – reveals the variety of images (music, books, buildings etc.) used by Leibniz to represent the original choice among different series of things, or worlds. These narrative texts actually provide valuable indications about Leibniz’s view on such crucial topics as counterfactuals, world-bound individuals, the structure of individual and universal history, and its representation.
Keywords: Fables • Divine Choice • Possible Worlds