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Discourse on Metaphysics/The Monadology (Philosophical Classics)

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One of the 17th century's most important thinkers, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz exercised enormous influence on the philosophy of Herder, Feuerbach, and Hegel as well as on the writings of Schiller and Goethe. Two of Leibniz's most studied and often quoted works appear in this volume: Discourse on Metaphysics and The Monadology. Published in 1686, the Discourse on Metaphysics One of the 17th century's most important thinkers, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz exercised enormous influence on the philosophy of Herder, Feuerbach, and Hegel as well as on the writings of Schiller and Goethe. Two of Leibniz's most studied and often quoted works appear in this volume: Discourse on Metaphysics and The Monadology. Published in 1686, the Discourse on Metaphysics consists of Leibniz's expansion of a letter to his theologian friend Antoine Arnauld, in which he explains that through our perceptions we express the rest of the universe from our own unique perspectives. The whole world is thus contained in each individual substance as each represents the same universe and "the universe is in a way multiplied as many times as there are substances, and similarly the glory of God is redoubled by as many completely different representations of His work." It is here that Leibniz makes his famous assertion that God, with perfect knowledge and goodness, freely chose to create this, the best of all possible worlds. The Monadology, written in 1714, offers a concise synopsis of Leibniz's philosophy. It establishes the laws of final causes, which underlie God's free choice to create the best possible world — a world that serves as dynamic and perfectly ordered evidence of the wisdom, power, and benevolence of its creator.


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One of the 17th century's most important thinkers, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz exercised enormous influence on the philosophy of Herder, Feuerbach, and Hegel as well as on the writings of Schiller and Goethe. Two of Leibniz's most studied and often quoted works appear in this volume: Discourse on Metaphysics and The Monadology. Published in 1686, the Discourse on Metaphysics One of the 17th century's most important thinkers, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz exercised enormous influence on the philosophy of Herder, Feuerbach, and Hegel as well as on the writings of Schiller and Goethe. Two of Leibniz's most studied and often quoted works appear in this volume: Discourse on Metaphysics and The Monadology. Published in 1686, the Discourse on Metaphysics consists of Leibniz's expansion of a letter to his theologian friend Antoine Arnauld, in which he explains that through our perceptions we express the rest of the universe from our own unique perspectives. The whole world is thus contained in each individual substance as each represents the same universe and "the universe is in a way multiplied as many times as there are substances, and similarly the glory of God is redoubled by as many completely different representations of His work." It is here that Leibniz makes his famous assertion that God, with perfect knowledge and goodness, freely chose to create this, the best of all possible worlds. The Monadology, written in 1714, offers a concise synopsis of Leibniz's philosophy. It establishes the laws of final causes, which underlie God's free choice to create the best possible world — a world that serves as dynamic and perfectly ordered evidence of the wisdom, power, and benevolence of its creator.

30 review for Discourse on Metaphysics/The Monadology (Philosophical Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nelson

    I read this book for Liebniz’s argument from contingency to a necessary being. I also enjoyed his thoughts related to PSR, necessity, contingency, and how infinity factors in the discussion. This part alone is worth five stars (although it only covers a small portion of this book). Although I think Leibniz’s argument doesn’t quite succeed (due to the BCCF/MCCF objection), his ideas are great and since have been further developed into successful arguments for a necessary being (see the writings I read this book for Liebniz’s argument from contingency to a necessary being. I also enjoyed his thoughts related to PSR, necessity, contingency, and how infinity factors in the discussion. This part alone is worth five stars (although it only covers a small portion of this book). Although I think Leibniz’s argument doesn’t quite succeed (due to the BCCF/MCCF objection), his ideas are great and since have been further developed into successful arguments for a necessary being (see the writings of Joshua Rasmussen, Alexander Pruss and William Lane Craig). The rest of the book I’d give a three.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hoodlum

    Useful as a prereq to various texts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Rigolin F Lopes

    We are in 1686, Leibniz is talking about some properties/qualities of reality and its “god”. Well, he assumes that there is such an impossible “god” doing everything perfect for its own glory. Boring. I almost threw this book at /dev/null (a sort of hellish digital black hole; but Leibniz would claim that his “god” can read stuff there). But, hey, that is exactly the point of reading philosophy! To bring DISCOMFORT (Thanks, B. Russell). So I replaced “god” by “nature” and kept reading the damn We are in 1686, Leibniz is talking about some properties/qualities of reality and its “god”. Well, he assumes that there is such an impossible “god” doing everything perfect for its own glory. Boring. I almost threw this book at /dev/null (a sort of hellish digital black hole; but Leibniz would claim that his “god” can read stuff there). But, hey, that is exactly the point of reading philosophy! To bring DISCOMFORT (Thanks, B. Russell). So I replaced “god” by “nature” and kept reading the damn thing. You may have some extra motivation because the text is short and Voltaire wrote Candide as satire of this nonsense. By the way, Voltaire’s book is delicious and gets even better after reading this one. Take away: Leibniz was writing to be understood, no fancy language and ingenious analogies with mathematical concepts. And some of the 90 monads, at the end of the book, are sober reasoning over nature (the ones not stating that “god perfection is absolutely infinite” and so on).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Simmons

    Where I think Leibniz is too quick to use "the mysteries of God" as an answer to serious questions, the sheer accessibility of this text is actually really nice. Both works are short enough to be read quickly, and written in a way that is easily understood. Leibniz is placed within an area where one can find themes from Descartes and Spinoza. To simply state, he distances himself from Cartesian subjectivity and Spinoza's monism in order to produce a philosophical system that carries a lot of Where I think Leibniz is too quick to use "the mysteries of God" as an answer to serious questions, the sheer accessibility of this text is actually really nice. Both works are short enough to be read quickly, and written in a way that is easily understood. Leibniz is placed within an area where one can find themes from Descartes and Spinoza. To simply state, he distances himself from Cartesian subjectivity and Spinoza's monism in order to produce a philosophical system that carries a lot of similarities with the atomists (e.g. Lucretius).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    Leibniz (1646-1716) was a true polymath and has been called the most comprehensive thinker since Aristotle. In these two great works by the founder of modern German speculative philosophy, the reader is introduced to Leibniz's matephysics, including his conception of physical substance, the motion and resistance of bodies, and the role of the divine within the dynamic universe.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joe Sabet

    I enjoyed the Discourse on Metaphysics a lot more than the Monadology. Certain parts in the former book were excellent but the latter seemed repetitive, opaque, and contradictory in some ways. I believe Descartes is more insightful

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Monads and Nomads - Leibniz and Deleuze.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Heavy stuff for people with no knowledge on the topic.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tim Weelinck

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolina

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aung Sett Kyaw Min

  12. 4 out of 5

    Valentin Sanchez

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anamainiak

  14. 5 out of 5

    Agustin Casalia

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kjellerup

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dawson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert Aston

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Bennett

  19. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike Foster

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patch or something

  23. 5 out of 5

    T

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lidia De borges

  25. 4 out of 5

    U

  26. 4 out of 5

    Luka

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mauricio Ruiz Delatorre

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dejan Velichkovski

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

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