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Leibniz thus from 1668-70 began working on a number of preliminary studies meant to be part of a comprehensive work entitled Catholic Demonstrations.
Leibniz in hindsight found these youthful physical works unimpressive, but they attest to the diversity of his interests.
Mainz opened Leibniz to an extraordinarily broad range of philosophical concerns; his most intense period of intellectual development soon followed.
He had access to the unpublished writings of Descartes and Pascal.
He met with leading Parisian intellectuals Antoine Arnauld and Nicholas Malebranche.
He also hoped his comprehensive philosophical system would serve as a common ground for uniting the determinedly divided Christian denominations in Europe.
Such irenic pursuits make Leibniz a unique transitional figure in the history of philosophy.
From 1661-63, Leibniz pursued university studies in Leipzig, with a brief stay at the university in Jena in 1663.
At the time, the curriculum at these universities was still largely scholastic with some pedagogical practices bearing traces of the Ramist encyclopedic tradition.
He has been called both the last in the lineage of great Christian Platonists and the first thinker to tackle the intellectual problems of modern Europe.
After an introduction to his life and works, this article examines the key elements of Leibniz’s ambitious philosophical program.