New Essays on Human Understanding Abridged Edition

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This is an abridgement of the complete translation of the New Essays, first published in 1981, designed for use as a study text. The material extraneous to philosophy - more than a third of the original - and the glossary of notes have been cut and a philosophical introduction and bibliography of work on Leibniz have been provided by the translators. The marginal pagination has been retained for ease of cross-reference to the full edition. The work itself is an acknowledged philosophical classic, in which Leibniz argues point by point with Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. The result is the single most important confrontation between the philosophical traditions of rationalism and empiricism. It makes an extremely suitable focus for the study of Leibniz's thought and of those two traditions in relation to one another.
 

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The New Essays
xiii
PREFACE
5
OF INNATE NOTIONS
2
That there are no innate practical principles
2
Other considerations concerning innate
2
Of simple ideas 120
27
Of simple ideas of reflection 128
33
Of retention 140
41
Of the signification of words 278
18
Of general terms 288
18
Of the names of simple ideas 296
18
Of the names of mixed modes and relations 300
18
Of the names of substances 304
18
Of particles 329
18
Of the imperfection of words 334
18
Of the remedies of the foregoing imperfections and abuses 351
18

Of discerning or the faculty of distinguishing ideas 141
42
Of complex ideas 145
45
Of duration and its simple modes 151
49
Of duration and expansion considered together 154
51
Of number 155
53
Of infinity 157
55
Of the modes of thinking 160
57
Of power and freedom 168
61
Of mixed modes 212
13
Of collective ideas of substances 226
18
Of cause and effect and other relations 228
18
What identity or diversity is 229
18
Of certain other relations especially moral relations 247
18
Of clear and obscure distinct and confused ideas 254
18
Of real and chimerical ideas 263
18
Of complete and incomplete ideas 266
18
Of true and false ideas 268
18
OF WORDS
18
Of words or language in general 273
18
OF KNOWLEDGE
18
Of knowledge in general 355 Ch i Of knowledge in general Ch ii Of the degrees of our knowledge 361
18
Of the extent of human knowledge 375
18
Of the reality of our knowledge 391
18
Of truth in general 396
18
Of the propositions which are named maxims or axioms 406
18
Of trifling propositions 428
18
Of our knowledge of our existence 433
18
Of our knowledge of the existence of God 434
18
Of our knowledge of the existence of other things 443
18
Of ways of increasing our knowledge 448
18
Some further considerations concerning our knowledge 456
18
Of judgment 456
18
Of the degrees of assent 459
18
Of faith and reason and their distinct provinces vinces 495
18
Of the division of the sciences 521
18
Bibliography
xxxvii
Index
xliii
Tekijänoikeudet

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Tietoja kirjailijasta (1982)

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, one of the last real polymaths, was born in Leipzig. Educated there and at the Universities at Jena and Altdorf, he then served as a diplomat for the Elector of Mainz and was sent to Paris, where he lived for a few years and came into contact with leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians. During a trip to England, he was elected to the Royal Society; he made a visit to Holland to meet Spinoza. Back in Germany he became librarian to the Duke of Brunswick, whose library was the largest in Europe outside the Vatican. From there he became involved in government affairs in Hanover and later settled in Berlin at the court of Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia. Leibniz was involved in the diplomatic negotiations that led to the Hanoverian succession to the English throne. From his university days he showed an interest in mathematics, logic, physics, law, linguistics, and history, as well as theology and practical political affairs. He discovered calculus independently of Newton and had a protracted squabble about which of them should be given credit for the achievement. The developer of much of what is now modern logic, he discovered some important physical laws and offered a physical theory that is close to some twentieth-century conceptions. Leibniz was interested in developing a universal language and tried to master the elements of all languages. Leibniz corresponded widely with scholars all over Europe and with some Jesuit missionaries in China. His philosophy was largely worked out in answer to those of other thinkers, such as Locke, Malebranche, Bayle, and Arnauld. Although he published comparatively little during his lifetime, Leibniz left an enormous mass of unpublished papers, drafts of works, and notes on topics of interest. His library, which has been preserved, contains annotations, analyses, and often refutations of works he read. The project of publishing all of his writings, undertaken in the 1920s by the Prussian Academy, was delayed by World War II but was resumed thereafter. It is not likely that the project will be completed in the twentieth century.

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