This article deals with the presence of Leibnizian philosophical elements in Rousseau’s theodicy. According to critics, theodicy is a large and complex problem that involves the whole of Rousseau’s thinking. In formulating a new and original solution, Rousseau often refers to Leibniz’s use of notions of universal order and harmony. An analysis is made of Rousseau’s texts that are more directly concerned with the problem of evil, namely Lettre à Philopolis, presumably written in 1755, Lettre à Voltaire dated August 18, 1756, Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard, and Lettre à M. de Franquière, January 1769. These texts show that, starting from the Second Discourse, Rousseau reflects deeply on the issues of theodicy referring constantly to the notion of harmony and order arrived at by Leibniz. On this basis, he is able to reinstate in opposition to Voltaire the role of Providence by taking up and reinterpreting Leibniz’s solution.
Keywords: Rousseau, Leibniz, theodicy, evil, order, harmony.