Leibniz on Compossibility



Leibniz’s well-known thesis that the actual world is just one among many possible worlds relies on the claim that some possibles are incompossible, meaning that they cannot belong to the same world. Notwithstanding its central role in Leibniz’s philosophy, commentators have disagreed about how to understand the compossibility relation. We examine several influential interpretations and demonstrate their shortcomings. We then sketch a new reading, the cosmological interpretation, and argue that it accommodates two key conditions that any successful interpretation must satisfy.