Talk:Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

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"Secondary literature" moved from article to talk page[edit]

Secondary literature[edit]

Modern biographies in English are Aiton (1985) and Antognazza (2008). An 1845 English biography by John M. Mackie is available on Google Books. A lively short account of Leibniz’s life, one also taking a critical approach to his philosophy, is Mates (1986: 14–35), who cites the German biographies extensively. Also see MacDonald Ross (1984: chpt. 1), the chapter by Ariew in Jolley (1995), and Jolley (2005: chpt. 1). For a biographical glossary of Leibniz's intellectual contemporaries, see AG 350.

For a first introduction to Leibniz's thought, see the Introduction of any anthology of his writings in English translation, e.g., Wiener (1951), Loemker (1969a), Woolhouse and Francks (1998). Then turn to the monographs MacDonald Ross (1984), and Jolley (2005). For an introduction to Leibniz's metaphysics, see the chapters by Mercer, Rutherford, and Sleigh in Jolley (1995); see Mercer (2001) for an advanced study. For an introduction to those aspects of Leibniz's thought of most value to the philosophy of logic and of language, see Jolley (1995, chpts. 7, 8); Mates (1986) is more advanced. MacRae (Jolley 1995: chpt. 6) discusses Leibniz's theory of knowledge. For glossaries of the philosophical terminology recurring in Leibniz's writings and the secondary literature, see Woolhouse and Francks (1998: 285–93) and Jolley (2005: 223–29).



  • Aiton, Eric J., 1985. Leibniz: A Biography. Hilger (UK).
  • Antognazza, Maria Rosa, 2008. Leibniz: An Intellectual Biography. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Brown, Gregory, 2004, "Leibniz's Endgame and the Ladies of the Courts," Journal of the History of Ideas 65: 75–100.
  • Hall, A. R., 1980. Philosophers at War: The Quarrel between Newton and Leibniz. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Hostler, J., 1975. Leibniz's Moral Philosophy. UK: Duckworth.
  • Jolley, Nicholas, ed., 1995. The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • LeClerc, Ivor, ed., 1973. The Philosophy of Leibniz and the Modern World. Vanderbilt Univ. Press.
  • Loemker, Leroy, 1969a, "Introduction" to his Leibniz: Philosophical Papers and Letters. Reidel: 1–62.
  • Luchte, James, 2006, 'Mathesis and Analysis: Finitude and the Infinite in the Monadology of Leibniz,' London: Heythrop Journal.
  • Arthur O. Lovejoy, 1957 (1936). "Plenitude and Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza" in his The Great Chain of Being. Harvard Uni. Press: 144–82. Reprinted in Frankfurt, H. G., ed., 1972. Leibniz: A Collection of Critical Essays. Anchor Books.
  • MacDonald Ross, George, 1999, "Leibniz and Sophie-Charlotte" in Herz, S., Vogtherr, C.M., Windt, F., eds., Sophie Charlotte und ihr Schloß. München: Prestel: 95–105. English translation.
  • Perkins, Franklin, 2004. Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Riley, Patrick, 1996. Leibniz's Universal Jurisprudence: Justice as the Charity of the Wise. Harvard Univ. Press.
  • Strickland, Lloyd, 2006. Leibniz Reinterpreted. Continuum: London and New York


  • Adams, Robert M., 1994. Leibniz: Determinist, Theist, Idealist. Oxford Uni. Press.
  • Bueno, Gustavo, 1981. Introducción a la Monadología de Leibniz. Oviedo: Pentalfa.
  • Louis Couturat, 1901. La Logique de Leibniz. Paris: Felix Alcan. Donald Rutherford's English translation in progress.
  • Ishiguro, Hide, 1990 (1972). Leibniz's Philosophy of Logic and Language. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Lenzen, Wolfgang, 2004. "Leibniz's Logic," in Gabbay, D., and Woods, J., eds., Handbook of the History of Logic, Vol. 3. North Holland: 1–84.
  • Mates, Benson, 1986. The Philosophy of Leibniz: Metaphysics and Language. Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Mercer, Christia, 2001. Leibniz's metaphysics: Its Origins and Development. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Robinet, André, 2000. Architectonique disjonctive, automates systémiques et idéalité transcendantale dans l'oeuvre de G.W. Leibniz: Nombreux textes inédits. Vrin
  • Rutherford, Donald, 1998. Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Wilson, Catherine, 1989. Leibniz's Metaphysics. Princeton Univ. Press.
  • Woolhouse, R. S., ed., 1993. G. W. Leibniz: Critical Assessments, 4 vols. Routledge. A remarkable one-stop collection of many valuable articles.

Online bibliography by Gregory Brown.

[end] [more from 'Collections' subsection]

  • Ariew, R; Garber, D (1989), Leibniz: Philosophical Essays, Hackett 
  • Bennett, Jonathan. Various texts.
  • Cook, Daniel, and Rosemont, Henry Jr., 1994. Leibniz: Writings on China. Open Court.
  • Dascal, Marcelo, 1987. Leibniz: Language, Signs and Thought. John Benjamins.
  • Loemker, Leroy (1969 (1956)), Leibniz: Philosophical Papers and Letters, Reidel  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Martin, R.N.D., and Brown, Stuart, 1988. Discourse on Metaphysics and Related Writings. St. Martin's Press.
  • Parkinson, G.H.R., 1966. Leibniz: Logical Papers. Oxford Uni. Press.
  • ———, and Morris, Mary, 1973. 'Leibniz: Philosophical Writings. London: J M Dent & Sons.
  • Riley, Patrick, 1988 (1972). Leibniz: Political Writings. Cambridge Uni. Press.
  • Strickland, Lloyd, 2006. Shorter Leibniz Texts. Continuum Books. Online.
  • Wiener, Philip (1951), Leibniz: Selections, Scribner  Regrettably out of print and lacks index.
  • Woolhouse, R.S., and Francks, R., 1998. Leibniz: Philosophical Texts. Oxford Uni. Press.


Personal life[edit]

Discussing the following addition.

Leibniz was born into a Lutheran family and held strong ecumenical sentiments, that is, the reunification of the Protestants and Catholics [1]. In a letter to Ezechiel Spanheim, written while Leibniz was in Hanover on February 20th, 1699, Leibniz affirms the deity of Christ, calling him "Lord," and discusses the topic of transubstantiation; the presence of the body and blood of Christ in bread and wine, showing fealty to his Lutheran origins on the matter[2].

The first claim that he was born into a lutheran family is not in the source provided. I don't deny this, but find a source that backs the claim up. This source doesn't.

The second claim is a primary source, and the editor used original research to come to the conclusion that he affirmed the deity of christ. Again, I don't deny this is true, but the source doesn't back this up. S806 (talk) 01:03, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

There's seemingly an effort underway here to airbrush out Leibniz's Christianity from his bio. That he was a Lutheran with orthodox Christian views is pretty much incontestable. (Sources and written section coming.)Schlier22 (talk) 20:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Skull picture[edit]

"The purpose of an image is to increase readers' understanding of the article's subject matter." This is taken from Wikipedia:Image use policy. Now, the skull picture, recently added, does not seem to serve any informative purpose, relative to the article. Consequently, I propose to take it out.--Auró (talk) 22:15, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

I'd say it could be relevant if the exhumation event and its reasons were actually described in the article, but I can't find it. Gap9551 (talk) 17:21, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Cybernetic feedback?[edit]

Hello all

I wonder if anyone could provide a citation for this statement:

In 1934, Norbert Wiener claimed to have found in Leibniz's writings a mention of the concept of feedback, central to Wiener's later cybernetic theory.

It seems strange, given that Wiener's interest in feedback comes a good few years later. No doubt Leibniz was a significant influence for Wiener's cybernetics though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Klinamen0 (talkcontribs) 21:46, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Primary source needed[edit]

Britton et al. 2008, p. 289 (Britton, Andrew; Sedgwick, Peter H.; Bock, Burghard (2008). Ökonomische Theorie und christlicher Glaube. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 289) is inappropriate for supporting the claim that Leibniz used the phrase Natura non saltum facit, since it does not give a citation to a primary source. (The Britton et al. source just says that Leibniz wrote that in 1701-4, publ. 1765. That book is the New Essays written in French, not Latin!) I do not doubt that Leibniz may have indeed written such a phrase, but if he did so where is the primary source? Leibniz is a famous scholar and we should be able to find a reliable source (preferably by a Leibniz scholar, not an economic historian) that provides a citation to a work actually written by Leibniz to support the claim that he used this Latin phrase. The standard Latin translation of the French phrase "la nature ne fait jamais des sauts" (Gottfried Leibniz, New Essays, IV, 16) is Natura non facit saltus as documented by the SEP (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Continuity and Infinitesimals"). ----Omnipaedista (talk) 15:25, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

@Omnipaedista: see my comments at Talk:Natura non facit saltus#Primary source needed. Let's agree about something there first, and then perhaps come back here. - DVdm (talk) 08:36, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Solved! Thanks! - DVdm (talk) 17:45, 22 May 2016 (UTC)