Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Authored by: Jack D. Davidson

Early Modern Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844652228
eBook ISBN: 9781315729619
Adobe ISBN: 9781317546450

10.4324/9781315729619.ch13

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Abstract

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) is best known among non-specialists for his development of the calculus and his incredible thesis that this is the best of all possible worlds. He was born in Hanover two years before the end of the horrific Thirty Years’ War. After receiving a doctorate in law, he came to the notice of an influential converted Catholic, through whom he entered the service of the Elector of Mainz, another converted Catholic. Both encouraged one of Leibniz’s lifetime passions: working toward Church reunion between Protestants and Catholics and ultimately between the various Protestant dominations. Leibniz’s ecumenical work was characterized by good will, tolerance and flexibility. It says something about the cast of Leibniz’s mind that he believed that if the differing sides could just agree on a correct metaphysics – his, as it turns out – reconciliation was possible.

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