Week 4 – Leibniz I: Truth, Explanation, & The PSR

This week we discuss Leibniz’s theory of truth and ways in which it relates to his conception of substance, the principle of sufficient reason, and explanation.


  • Leibniz:

    • “Meditations on Knowledge, Truth, and Ideas”
    • “First Truths”
    • Discourse on Metaphysics, §§1–13
    • New Essays Concerning Human Understanding, Preface (pp. 304-5, on Locke & superaddition)
    • “Monadology”, §§31-60
    • Excerpts from the Letters to Clarke
  • You can download these readings here.

Recommended readings below. I especially encourage you to read the objections from Hume. You can download the whole set of readings here.

  • Hume:
    • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, §9
    • Enquiry Concerning Human understanding, §4, part I
  • Della Rocca: “Violations of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (in Leibniz and Spinoza)”
  • Jolley, “The Metaphysics of Substances: Unity and Activity”
  • Rutherford,
    • “The Categories of Thought and Being”
    • “Substance”