ABSTRACT

Of all philosophers of the past, Molina is one of the most neglected. Most textbooks of History of Philosophy either do not mention him at all, or, if they do, they merely describe him as one of the sixteenth century philosophers, without going into the details of the philosophical doctrines he propounded. Yet Molina had a profound influence on Leibniz. In a negative sense, Molina influenced Leibniz by propounding a conception of freedom which Leibniz, as we shall see in the following chapters, was vehemently opposed to. But Molina’s positive influence on Leibniz is, as is to be shown in this Chapter, in the solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. Indeed, Leibniz expressly acknowledges that his position on this problem has a taint of Molinism. Contrasting his views with those of the Thomists, or rather what he terms ‘predeterminators’ on the one hand, and those of the Molinists on the other, Leibniz goes on to say:

But if the foreknowledge of God has nothing to do with the dependence or independence of our free actions, it is not so with the foreordinance of God, His decrees, and the sequence of causes which, as I believe, always contribute to the determination of the will. And if I am for the Molinists in the first point, I am for the predeterminators (the Thomists) in the second. 1