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2nd Edition
Leibniz: Modern or Pre-Modern Philosophy?

Leibniz is a major figure in western philosophy and, with Descartes and Spinoza, one of the most influential philosophers of the Rationalist School. The Monadology is his most famous work and one of the most important works of modern philosophy. It also includes the text of the Monadology , specially translated for this GuideBook by Anthony Savile. Ten Philosophical Mistakes.

Mortimer J. The Philosopher's Toolkit. Julian Baggini. Modern Philosophy. Sir Roger Scruton. Process and Reality.


Alfred North Whitehead. Immanuel Kant. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Bernard Lonergan.

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Epistemology: Contemporary Readings. Michael Huemer. Dictionary of Philosophy. Alan Lacey.

Starting with Leibniz

Robert Wicks. The Transcendence of the Ego. Jean-Paul Sartre. Jeremy Hayward. Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz. Roger Woolhouse. Thinking and Being. Irad Kimhi. James Ziccardi.

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Terry J. The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Robin Le Poidevin. The Bounds of Sense. Peter Strawson. The Essence of Faith. Albert Schweitzer.

Conceptual Roots of Mathematics. The Philosophy of Time. Roger McLure. Nicholas Jolley. Peter Loptson. Norman Kemp Smith.

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Hume on Causation. Helen Beebee. Spinoza's Geometry of Power. High marks are in order for its clarity, accessibility and acumen, as well as for the pace and style of its prose. One could be forgiven for doubting whether a truly introductory text could be produced on Leibniz's philosophy that covers the terrain of his thought without sacrificing the vibrancy and sharpness so distinctive of his arguments.

Leibniz: 2nd Edition (Paperback) - Routledge

Jolley's book puts that doubt to rest. For a novice to Leibniz it is a finely crafted introduction, and for more sophisticated readers there will be much to reflect upon as well. Jolley offers a synoptic view of Leibniz's philosophy and its context while also taking closer looks at the joints of his reasoning in many of the classic topics: substance, body, activity, monads, ideas, God, freedom, necessity, evil, and so on, each covered in chapters of twenty to thirty pages apiece--short enough for brisk reading, but long enough for precise discussion.

Less iconic elements of Leibniz's thought also get a hearing, notably his writings on ethics and politics, which provides a nice corrective to the common classroom portrait of Leibniz as narrowly concerned with metaphysics and logic. Like many studies of this sort, the work is book-ended by brief accounts of Leibniz's life and works, and of his legacy in subsequent philosophy. Jolley's treatments are lively and instructive, and he makes an intelligent selection from the multitude of the polymath's activities to relate to the philosophical career.

The only real omissions of interest from the book are, perhaps, Leibniz's contributions in the philosophies of physics and mathematics and the former is not entirely left out: cf. But Leibniz is already in excess of pages and not every topic can make the cut.

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Jolley draws widely from Leibniz's texts, making optimal use of the materials that will be most readily available in translation volumes; and, as one would expect, key passages are routinely set on the page to illustrate Leibniz's points--all without unduly belaboring the exegetical work. His analysis and reconstruction of the lines of reasoning are clean and efficient, telescoping the essential points without much loss. Technical concepts and terms of art are clarified in context, but unseasoned readers will not always appreciate the theory at work behind them e.

Jolley's remarks about counterparts and identity across worlds, On any account, however, readers will come away with a fair view of both the philosophy and the philosopher. Jolley's treatment will also be noted for its emphasis on Leibniz's embrace of the idea that each individual is a "mirror of God" that imitates divine wisdom and omnipotence as far as it can.

This theme, Jolley claims, is 'a powerful tool for understanding the major areas of Leibniz's philosophy' 3. I confess to an initial skepticism about how powerful a tool it could really be outside a few obvious applications.

I worried also about reducing Leibniz to a caricature of himself, a fate hard enough to avoid in introductory texts and one that Leibniz has suffered in a variety of forms through the years. But the results are persuasive, as many nice points and new connections come to light in the course of Jolley's essay. As he notes, the idea that individuals are mirrors of God is not itself exactly a philosophical doctrine. It is rather, for Leibniz, a suggestive image and one that influences his philosophy, if from a point somewhat outside the space of reasons.

This is the ideal introduction for anyone coming to the work of this important thinker for the first time. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter. For information on how we process your data, read our Privacy Policy. This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.