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

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Text: English, French (translation)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court; First Edition edition (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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,548,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Leibniz's philosophical work and I am systematically working through his major works. When I got to _Theodicy_, I bought this edition and I was quickly disappointed in the printing. Other reviews referred to an index, but my copy has none.

There is a simple title page, no copyright page, no index, and no standard page numbers. The page numbers occur in brackets in-text throughout, but it is difficult to flip through to find a certain passage when you are forced to skim the text just to find a page number. For copyright information, the only information given in the actual book is the ISBN on the back cover, which makes academic citation difficult. Furthermore, Leibniz frequently quotes Greek and Latin in his arguments, but this edition does not translate these lines. I was only able to get the main idea of the quotes because I am proficient in Greek and adequate in Latin. Finally, there are typos throughout where (I believe) Japanese characters are printed in the middle of a word. This makes reading the text difficult in some places, since it is unclear how many English letters are missing. I can deal with the other problems of this edition, but unreadable text is too much of an issue.

To summarize, I highly recommend reading _Theodicy_, but I do not recommend reading this edition. This edition is practically a hard copy of the Kindle edition, which does not help an academic like myself.
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