Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was a man of extraordinary intellectual creativity who lived an exceptionally rich and varied intellectual life in troubled times. More than anything else, he was a man who wanted to improve the life of his fellow human beings through the advancement of all the sciences and the establishment of a stable and just political order. In this Very Short Introduction Maria Rosa Antognazza outlines the central features of Leibniz's philosophy in the context of his overarching intellectual vision and aspirations. Against the backdrop of Leibniz's encompassing scientific ambitions, she introduces the fundamental principles of Leibniz's thought, as well as his theory of truth and theory of knowledge. Exploring Leibniz's contributions to logic, mathematics, physics, and metaphysics, she considers how his theories sat alongside his concerns with politics, diplomacy, and a broad range of practical reforms: juridical, economic, administrative, technological, medical, and ecclesiastical.
Discussing Leinbniz's theories of possible worlds, she concludes by looking at what is ultimately real in this actual world that we experience, the good and evil there is in it, and Leibniz's response to the problem of evil through his theodicy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Maria Rosa Antognazza is Professor of Philosophy at Kings College London. She has held research and visiting fellowships in Italy, Germany, Israel, Great Britain, and the USA, including a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (1997-2000) and a two-year research fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (2003-5). She is the author of Leibniz: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Leibniz on the Trinity and the Incarnation: Reason and Revelation in the Seventeenth Century (Yale University Press, 2007). She is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Leibniz (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), has published numerous contributions on seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophy, and has edited texts by Leibniz, J. H. Alsted, and H. Grotius.
CONCLUSION; REFERENCES; FURTHER READING; INDEX
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