Professor Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra Publishes New Book

  • Cover of Leibniz: Discourse on Metaphysics by Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra
13 February, 2020

Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, Oriel's Colin Prestige Fellow in Philosophy, has just published a new translation and commentary of Leibniz's Discourse on Metaphysics with Oxford University Press.

The Discourse on Metaphysics is one of Leibniz's fundamental works. Written in French around January 1686, it is the most accomplished systematic expression of Leibniz's philosophy in the 1680s, the period in which Leibniz's philosophy reached maturity. Leibniz's goal in the Discourse is to give a metaphysics for Christianity; that is, to provide the answers that he believes Christians should give to the basic metaphysical questions. Why does the world exist? What is the world like? What kinds of things exist? And what is the place of human beings in the world? To this purpose Leibniz discusses some of the most traditional topics of metaphysics, such as the nature of God, the purpose of God in creating the world, the nature of substance, the possibility of miracles, the nature of our knowledge, free will, and the justice behind salvation and damnation. This volume provides a new translation of the Discourse, complete with a critical introduction and a comprehensive philosophical commentary.

The book is fully an Oriel product, since the idea for the book originated from two undergraduate seminars on the Discourse Gonzalo gave in Michaelmas Term 2012 and Trinity Term 2013 for a group of spectacularly good Oriel students: Hugh Acland, Ksenia Harwood, Patrick Penzo, Philip Saville, Alec Siantonas, Anatole Sloan, Emily Smith, Amit Visana, and Alexandra Wilson; furthermore, among the many people with whom Gonzalo discussed parts of the book when writing it are the following Oriel academics and students: Maria Rosa Antognazza, Juliane Kerkhecker, Brian Leftow, Tien-Chun Lo, David Maskell, Thomas Møller-Nielsen, Martin Pickup, and Bill Wood.