Essay Human Leibniz New Understanding

Essay Human Leibniz New Understanding-61
It seems impossible that one individual could accomplish all that he did.

It seems impossible that one individual could accomplish all that he did.Leibniz worked unflaggingly at whatever task he set himself to, writing copiously on such diverse subjects as politics, theology, mathematics, and physics, and contributing with singular erudition to many other topics, such as chemistry, medicine, astronomy, geology, paleontology, optics, and philology.

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This complex effort is difficult to summarize, but Maria Rosa Antognazza, author of an indispensable 2009 intellectual biography of Leibniz, captures its essence about as succinctly as possible when she describes Leibniz’s project as an “all-encompassing, systematic plan of development of the whole encyclopaedia of the sciences, to be pursued as a collaborative enterprise publicly supported by an enlightened ruler,” the final goal of which was “the improvement of the human condition and thereby the celebration of the glory of God in His creation.” The motivating force of Leibniz’s life’s work was his optimism, which grew out of his philosophical and theological convictions.

It is perhaps best understood as the optimism of a scientist who believed not only that science was going to get the truth but also that the truth was something worth getting for its practical and moral benefits.

After quickly finishing, defending, and publishing his dissertation at the University of Altdorf at age twenty, he turned down the offer of a professorship, presumably to pursue his independent work of reforming the sciences — a project involving far more than the academy.

Leibniz was highly productive in his early twenties: he served as secretary for the alchemical society of Nuremberg (although the details surrounding this position are unclear); he completed a work on a new method for teaching and learning jurisprudence, devised plans for a vast expansion of an encyclopedia, wrote a work of political science concerning the election of a king of Poland as well as several texts explicating the traditional doctrines of transubstantiation, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Trinity, and the soul’s immortality.

After completing his philosophical and legal education at Leipzig and Altdorf, Gottfried Leibniz spent several years as a diplomat in France, England, and Holland, where he became acquainted with the leading intellectuals of the age.

He then settled in Hanover, where he devoted most of his adult life to the development of a comprehensive scheme for human knowledge, comprising logic, mathematics, philosophy, theology, history, and jurisprudence.

And second, he authored the provocative statement that this world is “the best of all possible worlds.” This claim was famously lampooned in Voltaire’s 1759 satire Candide, in which the title character, “stunned, stupefied, despairing, bleeding, trembling, said to himself: — If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?

” Leibniz’s posthumous reputation, already marred by the accusation he had plagiarized Newton’s calculus, never recovered from Voltaire’s mockery.

He was a historian, a poet, a legal theorist, a diplomat, a cryptographer, and a philosopher who thought it possible to reconcile theology with metaphysics and science.

A preeminent man of letters, he was also a cosmopolitan writer of letters, exchanging about fifteen thousand of them with more than a thousand correspondents in French, German, and Latin.


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