Leibniz Philosophical Essays Summary

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In 1672, Leibniz was dispatched to Paris on a diplomatic mission as well as on personal business for Boineburg.

Paris exposed Leibniz to learning, resources, and interlocutors the likes of which he had never seen.

Between the books of his father, those of his maternal grandfather, and the contributions of Friedrich’s bookselling former father-in-law, Leibniz had access to an impressive library.

At a young age, he gained a love for classical literature and the writings of the Church Fathers.

Leibniz’s main teachers, Jakob Thomasius in Leipzig and Erhard Weigel in Jena, were Aristotelians with eclectic interests.

Leibniz had his own eclectic interests, having gained some, mostly second-hand, familiarity with modern mechanical philosophy.

He also made great contributions to logic, with some considering him the greatest logician since Aristotle.

Due to his belief in a rationally ordered universe, his commitment to the principle of sufficient reason, and his acceptance of innate ideas, Leibniz is rightly ranked along with Descartes and Spinoza as one of the seminal early modern rationalists.

Later in his life, he recounted a fateful stroll through the Rosental in Leipzig in which he debated the respective merits of scholastic and modern thinking.

“Mechanism finally prevailed,” he recalled, “and led me to apply myself to mathematics” (G III, 606).


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