Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: The Art of Controversies

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Springer Science & Business Media, May 16, 2007 - Philosophy - 520 pages
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Leibniz is known to the wide public and to many scholars mainly as a logician and mathematician, and as the creator of a fascinating but strange metaphysical system. In these, as well as in other fields, his remarkable innovations were achieved by painstaking efforts to establish a fruitful critical dialogue with the leading contemporary thinkers. He was no less important, however, in his practical endeavor to bring opponents to negotiate reasonable solutions to key political and religious conflicts of his time.

Both his theoretical and practical activities were informed by a philosophical mind that sought in all circumstances the most general underlying principles; by a juridical mind that sought to bring order and structure to human interaction, without sacrificing the necessary flexibility; by an argumentative mind that knows that persuading is often more important than proving; by a scientific mind eager to organize past and present knowledge so as not to miss any bit of information capable of pointing the way to new discoveries; by a theologian mind that refuses to admit that religious conflicts between true believers are irresolvable; and by an ethical and political mind whose major concern is to direct all our intellectual work towards improving the well-being of humankind.

All these perspectives (and more) are united in what this book identifies as his Art of Controversies, which might also be called an Art of Dialectical Cooperation. For it is based on the idea that knowledge production, acquisition, and evolution is not a one-man affair, but the result of the cooperation of many, coming from different perspectives; whence it follows that not only tolerance vis-à-vis the other, but also valuing the other’s contribution and integrating it – whether it stems from another age, continent, culture, discipline, religion, or individual – is indispensable. This dialectical Leibniz that emerges from the selected texts here translated, commented, and interpreted in the light of their context, isn’t for sure the familiar one. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, it is capable of shedding light on that old, familiar, yet incomplete image of Leibniz, and of adding thus a further reason for cherishing and cultivating the heritage of a truly great man.

 

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Contents

VICES OF MINGLED DISPUTES
1
THE CONTROVERSY OF CONTROVERSIES
7
THE RELIGION OF A PEASANT
25
THE ELEMENTS OF THINKING
29
THE BALANCE OF LAW
34
CAN THERE BE AN OBLIGATION TO BELIEVE?
41
A FIRST DRAFT
42
B NEW VERSION
44
INTRODUCTION TO A SECRET ENCYCLOPEDIA
219
ON THE CREATION OF A NEW LOGIC
225
NEW OPENINGS
231
THEOLOGY AND THE PRINCIPLE OF CONTRADICTION
237
CHANGING RELIGION
241
METHODS OF REUNION
246
AN ARS CHARACTERISTICA FOR THE RATIONAL SCIENCES
263
CHARACTERIZING DEFINITIONS AND DEMONSTRATING PROPOSITIONS
271

CONTROVERSIES ON SACRED MATTERS
49
THE JUDGE OF CONTROVERSIES
55
A FIRST DRAFT
57
B DEFINITIVE VERSION
58
C RICHELIEU AND DE GROOT ON CONTROVERSIES
60
D THE UTILITY OF CONTROVERSIES8
61
F CONTROVERSIES9
62
TOWARDS A HEURISTICS FOR LITIGATION
64
B ALL POSSIBLE LITIGATIONS
66
C A HANDBOOK OF PRACTICAL LITIGATIONS
67
D JURIDICAL COMMONPLACES
68
E BROCARDIC PRINCIPLES
70
F THE ART OF WRITING DIALOGUES
72
THE METHOD OF JURISTS AND THE METHOD OF DOCTORS
75
INTERPRETATION AND ARGUMENTATION IN LAW
77
A PROLEGOMENA
78
B ON THE INTERPRETATION FOUNDATIONS APPLICATION AND SYSTEM OF LAWS
79
TOWARDS A HEURISTICS FOR DISCOVERY
93
A THE ART OF INVENTION
94
B TABLES DIVISIONS AND THE PLURALITY OF METHODS
98
C A PRINCIPLE OF DISCOVERY
101
ESTIMATING THE UNCERTAIN
105
TOWARDS A NUMERICAL UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE
119
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA AND THE METHOD OF DISCOVERY
129
TOWARDS A HEURISTICS FOR PERSUADING
142
A THE POWER OF PERSUADING
144
B CONCURRENCE OF ARGUMENTS
145
D WORDS
146
E PARADOXES
147
F WRONGDOING
148
H THE OCCASION FOR PERSUADING
152
I DISPUTING UNTIL COMPLETION
155
THE OTHERS PLACE
163
PERSUADING A SKEPTIC
167
ON CONTROVERSIES
201
ON PRINCIPLES
209
TWO PREFACES TO THE GENERAL SCIENCE
213
A PREFACE
214
B FOUNDATIONS AND EXAMPLES OF A NEW GENERAL SCIENCE
216
ADVANCING THE ART OF DISCOVERY
274
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE HAMBURG JUNGIANS
285
A LEIBNIZ TO PLACCIUS
286
B LEIBNIZ TO PLACCIUS
290
C LEIBNIZVAGETIUSLEIBNIZ
291
D LEIBNIZ TO PLACCIUS
295
E LEIBNIZ TO PLACCIUS
296
F LEIBNIZ TO PLACCIUS
297
THE PHILOSOPHICAL SIN CONTROVERSY
304
CONFRONTING THE CATHOLIC HARDLINERS Two Memoirs for Pellisson
309
B SECOND MEMOIR
315
DEFINING WHAT PERTAINS TO FAITH
325
JUDGMENT OF A CATHOLIC DOCTOR
329
PRESUMPTIONS AND FICTIONS IN LEGAL ARGUMENTATION Correspondence with Johannes Werlhof
341
A LEIBNIZ TO WERLHOF
342
B LEIBNIZ TO WERLHOF
343
C WERLHOF TO LEIBNIZ
347
D LEIBNIZ TO WERLHOF
349
E WERLHOF TO LEIBNIZ
350
F LEIBNIZ TO WERLHOF
352
THE METHOD OF ESTABLISHMENTS
358
THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF LOGIC AND BEYOND
373
PACTS CONTRACTS AND NATURAL LAW
391
APPROACHING THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
399
A ANNOTATORS PREFACE A
400
B ANNOTATIONS TO THE TRANSLATORS PREFACE
405
C SYNOPSIS
406
DIALECTIC PRINCIPLES AND THEIR APPLICATION
418
A THE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS OF REASON
420
C LETTER TO JAQUELOT
422
THE HISTORY AND TASKS OF LOGIC To Cornelius Dietrich Koch
429
BOLD CONJECTURES To Louis Bourguet
435
THE DYNAMICS OF FORMULATING AND EXPOUNDING THE SYSTEM To NicolasFrançois Remond
444
THE USE OF LOGIC AGAINST SKEPTICISM To Karl G Ehler
451
Biographical Notes
455
References
473
Subject Index
483
Name Index
509
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About the author (2007)

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, one of the last real polymaths, was born in Leipzig. Educated there and at the Universities at Jena and Altdorf, he then served as a diplomat for the Elector of Mainz and was sent to Paris, where he lived for a few years and came into contact with leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians. During a trip to England, he was elected to the Royal Society; he made a visit to Holland to meet Spinoza. Back in Germany he became librarian to the Duke of Brunswick, whose library was the largest in Europe outside the Vatican. From there he became involved in government affairs in Hanover and later settled in Berlin at the court of Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia. Leibniz was involved in the diplomatic negotiations that led to the Hanoverian succession to the English throne. From his university days he showed an interest in mathematics, logic, physics, law, linguistics, and history, as well as theology and practical political affairs. He discovered calculus independently of Newton and had a protracted squabble about which of them should be given credit for the achievement. The developer of much of what is now modern logic, he discovered some important physical laws and offered a physical theory that is close to some twentieth-century conceptions. Leibniz was interested in developing a universal language and tried to master the elements of all languages. Leibniz corresponded widely with scholars all over Europe and with some Jesuit missionaries in China. His philosophy was largely worked out in answer to those of other thinkers, such as Locke, Malebranche, Bayle, and Arnauld. Although he published comparatively little during his lifetime, Leibniz left an enormous mass of unpublished papers, drafts of works, and notes on topics of interest. His library, which has been preserved, contains annotations, analyses, and often refutations of works he read. The project of publishing all of his writings, undertaken in the 1920s by the Prussian Academy, was delayed by World War II but was resumed thereafter. It is not likely that the project will be completed in the twentieth century.

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