Leibniz: An Intellectual Biography

Leibniz: An Intellectual Biography

by Maria Rosa Antognazza


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Of all the thinkers of the century of genius that inaugurated modern philosophy, none lived an intellectual life more rich and varied than Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). Trained as a jurist and employed as a counsellor, librarian, and historian, he made famous contributions to logic, mathematics, physics, and metaphysics, yet viewed his own aspirations as ultimately ethical and theological, and married these theoretical concerns with politics, diplomacy, and an equally broad range of practical reforms: juridical, economic, administrative, technological, medical, and ecclesiastical. Maria Rosa Antognazza's pioneering biography not only surveys the full breadth and depth of these theoretical interests and practical activities, it also weaves them together for the first time into a unified portrait of this unique thinker and the world from which he came. At the centre of the huge range of Leibniz's apparently miscellaneous endeavours, Antognazza reveals a single master project lending unity to his extraordinarily multifaceted life's work. Throughout the vicissitudes of his long life, Leibniz tenaciously pursued the dream of a systematic reform and advancement of all the sciences, to be undertaken as a collaborative enterprise supported by an enlightened ruler; these theoretical pursuits were in turn ultimately grounded in a practical goal: the improvement of the human condition and thereby the celebration of the glory of God in His creation. As well as tracing the threads of continuity that bound these theoretical and practical activities to this all-embracing plan, this illuminating study also traces these threads back into the intellectual traditions of the Holy Roman Empire in which Leibniz lived and throughout the broader intellectual networks that linked him to patrons in countries as distant as Russia and to correspondents as far afield as China.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107627611
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/19/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 664
Sales rank: 592,765
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Maria Rosa Antognazza is Professor of Philosophy at King's College London. She is the author of Leibniz on the Trinity and the Incarnation: Reason and Revelation in the Seventeenth Century and has contributed to The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy.

Table of Contents

Part I. Youthful Vocations (1646-76): 1. The birth of a vision: background, childhood, and education (July 1646-March 1667); 2. The vision broadens: Nuremberg, Frankfurt, and Mainz (March 1667-March 1672); 3. Old wine in new bottles: Paris, London, and Holland (March 1672-December 1676); Part II. Dreams and Reality (1676-1716): 4. A universal genius as librarian, historian, and mining engineer: Hanover and Lower Saxony (December 1676-October 1687); 5. In the footsteps of the Guelfs: southern Germany, Austria, and Italy (November 1687-June 1690); 6. Back under the Guelf Dukes: Hanover and Wolfenbüttel (June 1690-February 1698); 7. Between brother and sister: Hanover and Berlin (February 1698-February 1705); 8. Light and shadows: Hanover, Berlin, Wolfenbüttel, Vienna (February 1705-September 1714); 9. Epilogue: last years in Hanover (September 1714-November 1716).

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