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On Leibniz
by Nicholas Rescher
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003
Cloth: 978-0-8229-4208-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8229-7075-0
Library of Congress Classification B2598.R455 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 193


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) possessed one of history's great minds. The German philosopher, mathematician, and logician invented (independently of Sir Isaac Newton) calculus. His metaphysics bequeathed a set of problems and approaches that drove the course of Western philosophy, from Kant's eighteenth century until the present day.

For over fifty years, the study of Leibniz has been a consistent passion for distinguished philosopher Nicholas Rescher. On Leibniz offers eleven of his essays, written with signature clarity, exploring the aspects of Leibniz's work and life that still resonate in the discipline of philosophy.

Rescher's essays are snapshots of Leibniz, lucidly drawn case studies that explain the fundamentals of his ontology: the theory of possible worlds, the world's contingency, space-time frameworks, and intermonadic relationships.

Several illuminating pieces reveal Leibniz as a substantial contributor to theories of knowledge. Discussions of his epistemology and methodology, its relationship to John Maynard Keynes and Talmudic scholarship, broaden the traditional view of Leibniz as a uniquely metaphysical thinker.

Rescher also explores, in four absorbing biographical essays, Leibniz's scholarly development and professional career in historical context. As a "philosopher courtier" to the Hanoverian court, Leibniz was associated with the leading intellectuals and politicians of his era, including Spinoza, Huygens, Newton, Queen Sophie Charlotte, and Czar Peter the Great.

A concluding essay holds up Leibniz's mode of philosophy as a role model for today's scholars. Rescher argues that many current problems can be effectively addressed with principles of process philosophy along lines inspired by Leibniz's monadology. On Leibniz is essential reading for students of Leibniz and Rescher alike.

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