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Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man, and the Origin of Evil Paperback – December 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875484379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875484372
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #991,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark Thomas on July 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have nothing to add to the previous reviews concerning the importance of Leibniz's thought as expressed in this book. I would like to add this caveat, however: this translation is not a critical edition. Leibniz quotes numerous passages in Greek and Latin (he was enormously erudite), but these passages are not translated in this edition. Neither does the editor/translator identify where the quoted passages are from (this would be useful if one wanted to look up the original context of a passage that Leibniz is quoting). Fortunately, the quotations are usually not necessary to understand the argument, which is somewhat repetitive in any case.

The other disadvantage of this volume is that the index contains only proper names and not ideas. This is unfortunate, since much of the work is not clearly organized and the discussion of a given issue is often scattered throughout the book.

But since this is the best edition of the Theodicy currently available in English, one has to live with these disadvantages.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By You read I read we all read on May 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This, and other of Leibniz's writings are, ..... I don't know. Profound? That is an understatement! Paradigm shifting? At least a few? These are some of the most powerful and poignant thoughts put into writing. This is the man who discovered the calculus with meaning (as opposed to Newton, who also gets credit, but had a different basis).

Leibniz gets some bad neglect in history, largely because Voltaire undermined his thoughts by creating a ridiculous straw-man of Leibniz's ideas - maybe Voltaire just couldn't grasp it! It is some of the hardest writing to read, especially since there was nothing before this like it. (for this reason, I recommend, if new to Leibniz, to NOT read an introduction or such. Many "scholars" still give Voltaire's slant on Leibniz. Read for yourself and then judge).

For hundreds of years Leibniz was put on the back shelf because Newton reigned supreme. But guess what? It turns out that Leibniz was right in his charges against Newton. The death of classical physics and the rise of the quantum started with Leibniz - it just took the world a while to catch up.

Also, if you have to deal with someone who gives that trite argument "If God is all powerful, If God is all good, How is there evil in the world," Plop, this book on his/her lap. Why people expect and easy and quick answer to this question is beyond me. Leibniz's answer, his treatment of free will and determinism, the soul and the individual - truly, if grasped, will change some part of your mind for the better.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ross James Browne on February 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
_Theodicy_ by Leibniz is amazingly relevant and readable considering how long ago it was written. This book is far better than many other works of philosophy which came much later. Very few authors have been able to tackle the problem of the relationship between the existence of evil and the existence of God with as much skill and clarity as Leibniz. The issues discussed in this book are still very relevant today, and the questions concerning evil and the existence of God still have not been answered. That is what makes this work so timeless; if I had been told that it was written yesterday I would have believed it, so relevant are the questions and so readable is the style. This is a must-read for even the most modern and scientifically-minded philosophers. Leibniz adresses questions that are completely independent of science, and can never be answered through science alone. The only way to solve the ancient problem of evil is to continue to think about it in the same way as Leibniz, even though we may never find a solid answer.
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