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  • Cited by 2
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Kraay, Klaas J. 2011. Incommensurability, incomparability, and God’s choice of a world. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 69, Issue. 2, p. 91.

    Kraay, Klaas J. 2008. Creation, Actualization and God's Choice among Possible Worlds. Philosophy Compass, Vol. 3, Issue. 4, p. 854.

  • Print publication year: 1994
  • Online publication date: May 2006

11 - Perfection and happiness in the best possible world


Since all possible things have a claim to existence in God's understanding in proportion to their perfections, the result of all these claims must be the most perfect actual world which is possible.

(Leibniz, G V1 603:L 639)

Candide, stunned, stupefied, despairing, bleeding, trembling, said to himself: -If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?


Few philosophical theses are so renowned as Leibniz's illustrious claim that this is the best of all possible worlds. Ironically, the doctrine's great fame is due more to the ridicule it received in Candide than to broad public familiarity with Leibniz's ideas. Even among philosophers well acquainted with Leibnizian texts, the subject of God's standards of perfection has only recently begun to receive detailed discussion. Yet these standards are essential to the meaning of the best possible world doctrine, and the place of humanity in the divine scheme is at the heart of Leibniz's treatment of the problem of evil. Consequently, it behooves us to ask what canons God invokes when he compares possible worlds, and in what ways these standards affect the prospects for human well-being.

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The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz
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