The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence: Together with Extracts from Newton's Principia and Opticks

The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence: Together with Extracts from Newton's Principia and Opticks

The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence: Together with Extracts from Newton's Principia and Opticks

The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence: Together with Extracts from Newton's Principia and Opticks

Excerpt

The collection of papers which is now known as the Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence consists of five papers by Leibniz and five replies by Samuel Clarke. They were written in the years 1715 and 1716, and originally published in 1717 in an edition prepared by Clarke. Leibniz had been engaged in a controversy with the Newtonians for several years and in 1715 wrote a letter to Caroline, Princess of Wales, strongly criticizing the philosophical and theological implications of Newton's work. The first paper in the Correspondence is part of this letter. Clarke, a friend and disciple of Newton, attempted to answer these charges in a paper given to Caroline and sent by her to Leibniz.

The Newton-Leibniz Controversy, 1705-1716

The Correspondence was the last phase of a general controversy between Leibniz and the Newtonians which had started in 1705. The original point at issue was whether Leibniz or Newton had been the first to invent the calculus. With each accusing the other of plagiarism the dispute was protracted and acrimonious. Newton at first remained in the background and allowed his case to be argued by his friend Keill, a skilful and outspoken controversialist; Leibniz was more restrained, believing for many years that Keill's articles must have been written without Newton's approval.

Gradually the dispute spread to other issues, of which . . .

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