Leibniz

Leibniz

Leibniz

Leibniz

Excerpt

Leibniz, although one of the great system-makers among philosophers, did not leave a complete and full-scale account of his philosophy. He wrote voluminously but unsystematically, and much of his work was produced in response to a book or article with which he was in disagreement. The Théodicée, for instance, was provoked by Bayle Dictionary article on the difficulties of combining in a Christian theology God's goodness, human freedom, and the existence of evil. This was the only book published by Leibniz in his lifetime, though he contributed articles to the learned journals of his day, Acta Eruditorum, the Journal des Savants, etc. The rest of Leibniz's writings were left in manuscript form in the Royal Library at Hanover, and editors have published selections from them at intervals. The total impression of Leibniz's work is of an extremely condensed statement of a philosophical position brilliantly illuminated from many points of view, from mathematical and physical studies, from reflection upon morals and religion, upon common-sense perception and microscopic vision. This is perhaps not unfitting for a philosophy of Monads enjoying an infinite variety of systematically inter-connected points of view. This study is from a philosophical standpoint which is sympathetic to, but not uncritical of, metaphysical speculation.

I am happy to have this opportunity of thanking the editor of the series, Professor A. J. Ayer, for the time and trouble he has spent in reading and commenting upon this book in manuscript, and for his many helpful criticisms and suggestions. I wish also to thank my sister, Mrs Grace A. Moss, for her help in enabling me to follow Leibniz's contribution to mathematics.

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