The Best of All Possible Worlds
A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil in the Age of Reason
In the spring of 1672, German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz arrived in Paris, home of France's two greatest philosopher-theologians of the period, Antoine Arnauld and Nicolas de Malebranche. The meeting of these three men represents a profoundly important moment in the history of philosophical and religious thought.
In The Best of All Possible Worlds, Steven Nadler tells the story of a clash between radically divergent worldviews. At its heart are the dramatic--and often turbulent--relationships between these brilliant and resolute individuals. Despite their wildly different views and personalities, the three philosophers shared a single, passionate concern: resolving the problem of evil. Why is it that, in a world created by an all-powerful, all-wise, and infinitely just God, there is sin and suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people, and good things to bad people?
The Best of All Possible Worlds brings to life a debate that obsessed its participants, captivated European intellectuals, and continues to inform our ways of thinking about God, morality, and the world.Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Rembrandt's Jews, a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, as well as Spinoza: A Life and Spinoza's Heresy.