Article

Leibniz and the problem of temporary truths

Citation

Merlo G (2017) Leibniz and the problem of temporary truths. Leibniz Review, 27, pp. 31-63. https://doi.org/10.5840/leibniz2017273

Abstract
Not unlike many contemporary philosophers, Leibniz admitted the existence of temporary truths, true propositions that have not always been or will not always be true. In contrast with contemporary philosophers, though, Leibniz conceived of truth in terms of analytic containment: on his view, the truth of a predicative sentence consists in the analytic containment of the concept expressed by predicate in the concept expressed by the subject. Given that analytic relations among concepts are eternal and unchanging, the problem arises of explaining how Leibniz reconciled one commitment with the other: how can truth be temporary, if concept-containment is not? This paper presents a new approach to this problem, based on the idea that a concept can be consistent at one time and inconsistent at another. It is argued that, given a proper understanding of what it is for a concept to be consistent, this idea is not as problematic as it may seem at first, and is in fact implied by Leibniz's general views about propositions, in conjunction with the thesis that some propositions are only temporarily true.

Journal
Leibniz Review: Volume 27

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2017
Date accepted by journal31/10/2017
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/26596
PublisherLeibniz Society of North America
ISSN1524-1556