Social Science and the Ignoble Savage, and: The Concept of Benevolence: Aspects of Eighteenth-Century Moral Philosophy (review)
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110 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY As in previous volumes, the letters of 1693 are arranged chronologically within each of four groups. The first (letters 1-57) has to do with members and affairs of the Hanover Court. Of central interest here is Leibniz's task of providing historical and political arguments justifying the elevation of the House to the Imperial Electorate and defending it against opposition from other princes, including the jealous and envious cousins at nearby Celle and Brunswick. (The scandals that shook the court in this year--the violent effort of the younger princes to overthrow the primogeniture rule, and the notorious KOnigsmarck affair--are not mentioned.) The second section (letters 58-116) concerns ecclesiasticalmatters, almost entirely the problem of the possible reunification of the Roman and Protestant churches. The year begins with the death of two of Leibniz's closest friends, both of whom had worked with him on this problem: Paul Pellisson-Fontanier dies at the very beginning of the year in Paris, and the Landgrave Ernest of Hesse-Rheinfels dies in late March after having vainly resisted two French attacks upon his vast stronghold on the Rhine. The discussion of church union now shifts to the participation of Walter Molanus, Protestant Abbot of Loccum, who supports Leibniz on the Protestant side, and Marie de Brinon and Bossuet, on the Roman side. In the course of the year it bogs down in the issue of the Council of Trent, the Paris group insisting on Protestant adherence to the letter, with Leibniz maintaining as firmly that there must be some adaptation and modification on both sides if agreement is to be achieved. The third and by far the longest section (letters 117-448) covers general political and scholarly correspondence. The year 1693 finds Leibniz in the busiest and most distracted period of his life. Harassments increase, and there are complaints about the unmanageable growth of his correspondence. As librarian of two courts, he collects documents for the great Codex Juris Gentium Diplomaticus; and much of his correspondence concerns the collection of added materials, the preparation and production of the volume and its later distribution and sale (which followed all too slowly). The preface of this work is well known for the best summary account of Leibniz's opinion about disinterested love and its relation to justice. Another point of interest is the correspondence concerning the nature of substance, introduced by Bossuet but mentioned later by Gerhard Meier in connection with Christian Thomasius's announcement of a prize essay on the question What is substance? Leibniz replies at once, "All substance has a force of acting [vim agendl]; indeed, it always acts, and so I do not place the essence of substance in extension, but in a motive power [virtute motrice], which the French call force" (letter to Meier, Dec. 1/11, 1693). This view he publishes in the Acta Eruditorum of March 1694 with the title "On the Correction of Metaphysics and the Concept of Substance." In the fourth section, consisting of letters to his brother and nephew (letters 449-479), the discussion of the Codex Juris Gentium is prominent. Like the volumes that have preceded it, this volume adds to the concreteness of our detailed conception of the intellectual whole within which Leibniz's philosophical views grow in detailed clarity and systematic unity. LEROY E. LOEMKER Emory University Social Science and the Ignoble Savage. By R. L. Meek. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976. s The Concept of Benevolence: Aspects of Eighteenth-Century Moral Philosophy. By T. A. Roberts. (New York: Humanities Press, 1973. Pp. vii + 119. $6.75) Professor Meek's intention in his latest book is to concentrate on the eighteenth-century origin and development of a single theory about society, namely the "four stages" theory, which was the first theory to postulate that the most important factor in social change was a change in the mode of subsistence in any given society. BOOK REVIEWS 111 The "four stages" consist of the activities of hunting, pasturage, agriculture, and commerce ; and the evolution of European society from a primitive origin to an advanced civilization was characterized by passing successively through each of them. As the mode of...