Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
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Since writing my Princeton doctoral dissertation on Leibnizâs philosophy of science in 1949â1951, now well over ï¬fty years ago, I have returned to this thinker regularly by way of articles on special topics regarding his life and thought. The present volume collects together a representative sampling of these investigations. Chapters 1â4 deal with some fundamental aspects ...
1. Leibniz on Possible Worlds
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Leibnizâs theory of possible worlds, elaborated and explained by him over many years in many writings, constitutes an interesting but rather compli-cated doctrine that goes to the very heart of his metaphysical system. The present discussion will provide a compact but synoptic sketch of its principal The doctrine that necessary propositions are those truths that obtain in ...
2. Contingentia Mundi: Leibniz on the World’s Contingency
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From the earliest days of his philosophizing Leibniz insisted upon the contingency of the world. It was always one of his paramount aims to avert a Spinozistic necessitarianism, and he regarded the contingency of the worldâs constituents and processes as an indispensable requisite towards this end, one in whose absence the idea of divine benevolence would be inapplicable....
3. Leibniz on Intermonadic Relations
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His theory of relations represents a crucial component of Leibnizâs phi-losophy. It is one of those many points of fertile concurrence where logic and metaphysics come together in fruitful symbiosis. But the theory confronts many problems. One of the gravest of these is the question, Are intermo-nadic relations real, or are they matters of mere seeming? It is sometimes said ...
4. Leibniz and the Plurality of Space-Time Frameworks
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Leibniz advocated a theory of space (and time) as ârelativeââthat is, as relative to the physical things ordinarily said to be located within space (and time). He opposed the doctrine of Newtonâs Principia which cast space and time in the role of empty containers existing on their own and having a makeup that is indifferent to the things emplaced in them. For Leibniz, ...
5. Leibniz and the Concept of a System
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The aim of this essay is to examine the role of the systems concept in Leibnizâs thinking. It addresses the questions, Whence did Leibniz obtain the idea of system? How did he develop it? What sort of role did it play in his While the underlying idea of what we nowadays call a âsystemâ of knowl-edge was certainly alive in classical antiquityâwith the Euclidean systemati-...
6. Leibniz and Issues of Eternal Recurrence
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In the extensive philosophical literature that the Church Fathers devoted to the issue of âeternal recurrence,â three signiï¬cant distinguishable ideas I. Eternal recommencement: the unending succession of destructions and re-creations of the world over an ongoing series of cosmic phrases or cycles II. Eternal recurrence: the unending reappearance of certain event-occur-...
7. Leibnizian Neo-Platonism and Rational Mechanics
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One of the saliently deï¬nitive doctrines of Neoplatonism issues from the teaching of Platoâs Timaeus (29Dâ30C) that intelligence, reason, and value are the crucial factors for explaining and understanding the nature of the In no other major thinker in the Western tradition did this line of thought play a more central, determinative, and ultimately inï¬uential role than in ...
8. Leibniz and the World’s Improvability
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Until quite recently, no philosopher since Leibnizâs day has grappled seri-ously with the question of whether it is feasible to see the actual order of nature as the optimal resolution of the problem of world realization under plausible constraintsâconstraints, that is, which could reasonably be seen as appropriate requirements for realizing a coherent universe.1 After all, the ...
9. The Epistemology of Inductive Reasoning in Leibniz
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Philosophers naturally think of Leibniz as ï¬rst and foremost a metaphysi-cian: the author of the Monadology and the founder of the ânew system of preestablished harmony.â From this perspective, Leibnizâs ideas regarding the theory of knowledge fade into the background. In the common way of thinking among philosophers, Leibniz is not a substantial contributor to the ...
10. Leibniz, Keynes, and the Rabbis
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Leibnizâs fascination with difï¬cult legal issues dates from his early years and found expression in the doctoral dissertation De casibus perplexis in jure, which he presented to the University of Altdorf at the age of twenty in 1666. This interest in law intersected with his concern for combinatorics and prob-ability when, in a 1687 letter to Vincentius Placcius, one of his longest-term ...
11. Leibniz and Socialized Medicine
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In the autumn of 1688 Leibniz at last realized his long-standing aspiration for an audience with the ruling prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Leopold I. He nursed the hope of persuading the emperor to appoint him as an advi-sor for projects of public interest, and in the course of this audience he made Leibniz went to extraordinary lengths to plan for this meeting, drafting ...
12. The Contributions of the Paris Period (1672–1676) to Leibniz’s Metaphysics
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This essay seeks to elucidate the biographical background of the preced-ing discussion of Leibnizâs recourse to the idea of perfection maximization through inï¬nitistic comparisons. In pursuing this goal, it will assess the ex-tent to which the philosophical and mathematical work of Leibnizâs Parisian period contributed to the formation of his entire metaphysical system.1...
13. Leibniz Finds a Niche (1676–1677)
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On 1 November 1675 the royal treasury of Louis XIV paid out the sum of 100,000 livres in gold coinage to Christophe Brosseau, representative in Paris of John Frederick of Hanover, duke of Brunswick-LÃ¼neburg and premier member of the house of Brunswick, which ruled various principalities in the Lower Saxon region of Germany. After deductions for the usual gratuities to ...
14. Leibniz Visits Vienna (1712–1714)
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Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire, had long been a focus of Ha-noverian interest in connection with not only the elevation of the dukedom to an electorate in the imperial system, but also the Grand Allianceâs war against France. Then too the âprincely conspiracyâ had led to the exile of Prince Maximilian Wilhelm from Hanover to the imperial service.1 And, of ...
15. Leibniz Crosses the Atlantic
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In 1967 Kurt MÃ¼ller published a comprehensive survey of the Leibniz literature.1 It is striking that in this inventory of some 3,400 items, no more than a handful issued from North America. It will seem unbelievable to con-temporary North American Leibnizians that one can count on oneâs digits the North American scholars who had published on Leibniz in the period ...
16. Leibniz and American Philosophy
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In these deliberations I propose to sketch a small chapter of the large story of Leibnizâs vast inï¬uence upon subsequent philosophizing. The protago-nists of this story are four American thinkers whose work was signiï¬cantly prominent in the ï¬rst half of the twentieth century, namely C. S. Peirce (1839â1917), John Dewey (1859â1952), A. N. Whitehead (1861â1947), and Kurt ...
17. Leibniz and Cryptography
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It is unquestionably an exaggeration to say, with Voltaire, that men use speech only to conceal their thoughts from the view of others. But it is cer-The symbolic encoding of information and its concealment and revela-tion was of paramount interest to Leibniz throughout his entire career from beginning to end, and it was a topic that stimulated his mind in many di-...
18. Leibniz’s Machina Deciphratoria: A Seventeenth-Century Proto-Enigma Machine
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G. W. Leibniz (1646â1716) was the quintessential Renaissance man, a German Leonardo da Vinci but with a difference. For instead of focusing on the plastic arts like Leonardo, Leibniz worked more abstractlyâwith mathematics. He invented the calculus, topology, determinants, binary arithmetic, symbolic logic, rational mechanics, and much else besides. ...
19. Process Philosophy and Monadological Metaphysics
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Monadological metaphysics is intimately bound up with a process-philo-sophical perspective. And from the days of Leibniz and Boscovitch process-oriented thinking has ï¬gured prominently in monadological philosophizing. After all, the term âmonadâ has both a physical and a metaphysical sense. Physically, monads are centers of force or activityâloci characterized by a ...
20. Was Leibniz Ennobled?
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Leibnizâs earliest biographers unhesitatingly considered him ennobled and even sometimes spoke of him as Baron von Leibniz. Guhrauer conjectures (vermuthet) in his 1846 pioneering Leibniz biography that he was ennobled in January 1690, on the occasion of the crowning of Joseph I as King of the Romans.1 But a careful search of the imperial archives in Vienna gave no sign ...
21. Leibniz Disillusioned Parting Ways from J. D. Crafft
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Johann Daniel Crafft or Krafft and sometimes Kraft (1624â9 April 1697) was for many years Leibnizâs collaborator and business partner. And not just By profession Crafft was a chemist, alchemist, and scientiï¬c entrepre-neur. The two had been in touch ever since Leibnizâs mid-twenties when, like Crafft, he was in the service of the Elector of Mainz. Their regular, ...
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This inventory of my Leibnizian writings merits a brief preliminary ac-count of the history of my concern with the work of this fascinating and many-sided thinker, whose inï¬uence has been a recurrent leitmotiv in my life. Indeed, our initial contact dates from a development of merely symbolic importanceâseeing that it occurred in 1928 when I was only four or ï¬ve ...
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013