Gottfried Leibniz quotes

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Gottfried Leibniz

Birthdate: 1. July 1646
Date of death: 14. November 1716

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a prominent German polymath and one of the most important logicians, mathematicians and natural philosophers of the Enlightenment. As a representative of the seventeenth-century tradition of rationalism, Leibniz's most prominent accomplishment was conceiving the ideas of differential and integral calculus, independently of Isaac Newton's contemporaneous developments. Mathematical works have consistently favored Leibniz's notation as the conventional expression of calculus. It was only in the 20th century that Leibniz's law of continuity and transcendental law of homogeneity found mathematical implementation . He became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of mechanical calculators. While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal's calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of all digital computers.

In philosophy, Leibniz is most noted for his optimism, i.e. his conclusion that our universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created, an idea that was often lampooned by others such as Voltaire. Leibniz, along with René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, was one of the three great 17th-century advocates of rationalism. The work of Leibniz anticipated modern logic and analytic philosophy, but his philosophy also assimilates elements of the scholastic tradition, notably that conclusions are produced by applying reason to first principles or prior definitions rather than to empirical evidence.

Leibniz made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in philosophy, probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. He wrote works on philosophy, politics, law, ethics, theology, history, and philology. Leibniz also contributed to the field of library science. While serving as overseer of the Wolfenbüttel library in Germany, he devised a cataloging system that would serve as a guide for many of Europe's largest libraries. Leibniz's contributions to this vast array of subjects were scattered in various learned journals, in tens of thousands of letters, and in unpublished manuscripts. He wrote in several languages, but primarily in Latin, French, and German. There is no complete gathering of the writings of Leibniz translated into English. Wikipedia

Works

Discourse on Metaphysics
Gottfried Leibniz
Théodicée
Gottfried Leibniz

„Now, as there is an infinity of possible universes in the Ideas of God, and as only one of them can exist, there must be a sufficient reason for God's choice, which determines him toward one rather than another. And this reason can be found only in the fitness, or the degrees of perfection, that these worlds contain, since each possible thing has the right to claim existence in proportion to the perfection it involves.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Or, comme il y a une infinité d'univers possibles dans les idées de Dieu, et qu'il n'en peut exister qu'un seul, il faut qu'il y ait une raison suffisante du choix de Dieu qui le détermine à l'un plutôt qu'à l'autre. Et cette raison ne peut se trouver que dans la convenance, dans les degrés de perfection que ces mondes contiennent, chaque possible ayant droit de prétendre à l'existence à mesure de la perfection qu'il enveloppe.
La monadologie (53 & 54).
The Monadology (1714)

„TO LOVE is to find pleasure in the happiness of others.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

"A Dialogue" (after 1695), as quoted in The Shorter Leibniz Texts (2006) http://books.google.com/books?id=oFoCY3xJ8nkC&dq edited by Lloyd H. Strickland, p. 170
Context: TO LOVE is to find pleasure in the happiness of others. Thus the habit of loving someone is nothing other than BENEVOLENCE by which we want the good of others, not for the profit that we gain from it, but because it is agreeable to us in itself.
CHARITY is a general benevolence. And JUSTICE is charity in accordance with wisdom. … so that one does not do harm to someone without necessity, and that one does as much good as one can, but especially where it is best employed.

„My philosophical views approach somewhat closely those of the late Countess of Conway“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Letter to Thomas Burnet (1697), as quoted in Platonism, Aristotelianism and Cabalism in the Philosophy of Leibniz (1938) by Joseph Politella, p. 18
Context: My philosophical views approach somewhat closely those of the late Countess of Conway, and hold a middle position between Plato and Democritus, because I hold that all things take place mechanically as Democritus and Descartes contend against the views of Henry More and his followers, and hold too, nevertheless, that everything takes place according to a living principle and according to final causes — all things are full of life and consciousness, contrary to the views of the Atomists.

„I have said more than once, that I hold space to be something purely relative, as time; an order of coexistences, as time is an order of successions.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

J'ay marqué plus d'une fois, que je tenois l'espace pour quelque chose de purement relatif, comme le temps; pour un ordre des coëxistences, comme le temps est un ordre des successions.
Third letter http://www.physics.ubc.ca/~berciu/PHILIP/TEACHING/PHYS340/EXTRA/FILES/Leibniz-ClarkeA.pdf to Samuel Clarke, February 25, 1716

„Everything that is possible demands to exist.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Omne possibile exigit existere.
De veritatibus primis (1686)

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„Only geometry can hand us the thread [which will lead us through] the labyrinth of the continuum’s composition, the maximum and the minimum, the infinitesimal and the infinite; and no one will arrive at a truly solid metaphysic except he who has passed through this [labyrinth].“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Dissertatio Exoterica De Statu Praesenti et Incrementis Novissimis Deque Usu Geometriae (Spring 1676)
Original: (la) Nam filum labyrintho de compositione continui deque maximo et minimo ac indesignabili at que infinito non nisi geometria praebere potest, ad metaphysicam vero solidam nemo veniet, nisi qui illac transiverit.
Source: Leibniz, Leibnizens Mathematische Schriften, Herausgegeben Von C.I. Gerhardt. Bd. 1-7. 1850-1863. Halle. The quotation is found in vol. 7. on page 326 in ”Dissertatio Exoterica De Statu Praesenti et Incrementis Novissimis Deque Usu Geometriae”. Link https://archive.org/stream/leibnizensmathe12leibgoog
Source: Geometry and Monadology: Leibniz's Analysis Situs and Philosophy of Space by Vincenzo de Risi. Page 123. Link https://books.google.no/books?id=2ptGkzsKyOQC&lpg=PA123&ots=qz2aKxAYtp&dq=Dissertatio%20Exoterica%20De%20Statu%20Praesenti%20et%20Incrementis%20Novissimis%20Deque%20Usu%20Geometriae%E2%80%9D&hl=no&pg=PA123#v=onepage&q&f=false

„Every substance is as a world apart, independent of everything else except God.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz, book Discourse on Metaphysics

Chaque substance est comme un monde à part, indépendant de toute autre chose, hors de Dieu...
Discours de métaphysique (1686)

„Music is a hidden arithmetic exercise of the soul, which does not know that it is counting.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Letter to Christian Goldbach, April 17, 1712.
Arthur Schopenhauer paraphrased this quotation in the first book of Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung: Musica est exercitium metaphysices occultum nescientis se philosophari animi. (Music is a hidden metaphysical exercise of the soul, which does not know that it is philosophizing.)
Original: (la) Musica est exercitium arithmeticae occultum nescientis se numerare animi.

„Thus it may be said that not only the soul, the mirror of an indestructible universe, is indestructible, but also the animal itself, though its mechanism may often perish in part and take off or put on an organic slough.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Ainsi on peut dire que non seulement l'âme, miroir d'un univers indestructible, est indestructible, mais encore l'animal même, quoique sa machine périsse souvent en partie, et quitte ou prenne des dépouilles organiques.
La monadologie (77).
Sometimes paraphrased as: The soul is the mirror of an indestructible universe.
The Monadology (1714)

„Theologian: But what is to love?
Philosopher: To be delighted by the happiness of another.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Confessio philosophi (1673)
Original: (la) Theologus: Amare autem?
Philosophus: Felicitate alterius delectari.

„De arte characteristica ad perficiendas scientias ratione nitentes in C. I. Gerhardt (ed.), Die philosophischen Schriften von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (7 vols. 1875–1890) VII 125.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

"[...] if controversies were to arise, there would be no more need of disputation between two philosophers than between two calculators. For it would suffice for them to take their pencils in their hands and to sit down at the abacus, and say to each other (and if they so wish also to a friend called to help): Let us calculate."
The famous calculemus of Leibniz appears in several places of his writing; this is the most frequently quoted; variants are found in the Preface to his New Essays on Human Understanding, and in Dissertatio de Arte Combinatoria (1666). See R. Chrisley, Artificial Intelligence (2000), p. 14 https://books.google.ch/books?id=dLQ3bDy2tgYC&pg=PA14#v=onepage&q&f=false; H. Busche, Leibniz' Weg ins perspektivische Universum (1997), p. 134 https://books.google.ch/books?id=xAI4Wtp0GBoC&pg=PA134&lpg=PA134.
Original: (la) quando orientur controversiae, non magis disputatione opus erit inter duos philosophus, quam inter duos computistas. Sufficiet enim calamos in manus sumere sedereque ad abacos, et sibi mutuo (accito si placet amico) dicere: calculemus

„Why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

De rerum originatione radicali (1697); reprinted in God. Guil. Leibnitii Opera philosophica quae exstant latina, gallica, germanica omniaː 1 http://books.google.gr/books?id=Huv3Q0IimL0C&vq= (1840), p. 148
Cf. Martin Heidegger, What is Metaphysics? (1929)ː "Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts? Das ist die Frage."
Original: (la) cur aliquid potius extiterit quam nihil

„There are two famous labyrinths where our reason very often goes astray. One concerns the great question of the free and the necessary, above all in the production and the origin of Evil. The other consists in the discussion of continuity, and of the indivisibles which appear to be the elements thereof, and where the consideration of the infinite must enter in.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz, book Théodicée

Il y a deux labyrinthes fameux où notre raison s’égare bien souvent : l'un regarde la grande question du libre et du nécessaire, surtout dans la production et dans l'origine du mal ; l'autre consiste dans la discussion de la continuité et des indivisibles qui en paraissent les éléments, et où doit entrer la considération de l'infini.
Théodicée (1710)ː Préface

„There are two kinds of truths: those of reasoning and those of fact. The truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; the truths of fact are contingent and their opposites are possible.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

Il y a aussi deux sortes de vérités, celles de Raisonnement et celle de Fait. Les vérités de Raisonnement sont nécessaires et leur opposé est impossible, et celles de Fait sont contingentes et leur opposé est possible.
La monadologie (33).
The Monadology (1714)

„Nature does not make leaps.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz

La nature ne fait jamais des sauts.
Avant-propos to Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain (1704).
A later, more famous Latin version — "Natura non facit saltus" — is from the Philosophia Botanica (1751) by Linnaeus.
A variant translation is "natura non saltum facit" (literally, "Nature does not make a jump") ([Ökonomische Theorie und christlicher Glaube, Andrew, Britton, Peter H., Sedgwick, Burghard, Bock, LIT Verlag Münster, 2008, 978-3-8258-0162-5, 289, https://books.google.com/books?id=goW6JsEUz4EC] Extract of page 289 https://books.google.com/books?id=goW6JsEUz4EC&pg=PA289).

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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