Gottfried Leibniz, fully Gottfried Wilhalm von Leibniz, Baron von Leibnitz

Gottfried
Leibniz, fully Gottfried Wilhalm von Leibniz, Baron von Leibnitz
1646
1716

German Mathematician, Philosopher, Political Advisor and Logician, Developed Infinitesimal Calculus independently of Isaac Newton

Author Quotes

Wisdom is the science of happiness or of the means of attaining the lasting contentment which consists in the continual achievement of a greater perfection or at least in variations of the same degree of perfection.

With every lost hour, a part of life perishes.

With regard to minds, that is to say substances which think, and are capable of knowing God and of discovering eternal truths, I hold that God governs them by laws different from those by which He governs the rest of substances.

You say you do not see what leads me to admit that there are such substantial terms, or rather corporeal substances, endowed with a genuine unity. It is because I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity.

It is worth noting that the notation facilitates discovery. This, in a most wonderful way, reduces the mind's labor.

Nothing is accomplished all at once, and it is one of my great maxims, and one of the most completely verified, that Nature makes no leaps: a maxim which I have called the law of continuity.

Punishment belongs to the evil will—no matter whence it comes. Otherwise, no misdeed would be punished. There is always a cause of the will outside of the willing subject, and yet it is the will that makes us human beings and persons—sinners, blessed, damned.

The general knowledge of this great truth that God acts always in the most perfect and most desirable manner possible is in my opinion the basis of the love which we owe to God in all things; for he who loves seeks his satisfaction in the felicity or perfection of the object loved and in the perfection of his actions.

The ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God... God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced… I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.

Thus God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced.

We must then come down to either the mathematical points, out of which some authors compound extension, or to the atoms of Epicurus and M. Cordemoy (which are things that you and I alike reject ), or else we must acknowledge that no reality can be found in bodies; or finally we must recognize some substances as having genuine unity.

It may be even be said that as a result of these minute perceptions the present is big with the future and laden with the past, that everything is in league together, and that in the smallest substance eyes as piercing as those of God could read the whole sequence of things in the universe:

Nothing is more important than to see the sources of invention which are, in my opinion, more interesting than the inventions themselves.

Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another... I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity... I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.

The German language, which has an abundance of meaningful terms for useful things belonging to common life, for things visible or intelligible, is the most convenient for that purpose; when applied to supposed philosophical chimeras, it can only seem false—it is violated. In contrast, the Latin language was robbed a long time ago of her virginity, and her daughters, the Italian and French languages, were all too inclined to take on the vice of the mother.

The whole future is doubtless determined; but since we know not what it is, nor what is foreseen or resolved, we must do our duty, according to the reason that God has given us and according to the rules that he has prescribed for us; and thereafter we must have a quiet mind, and leave to God himself the care for the outcome. For he will never fail to do that which shall be the best, not only in general but also in particular, for those who have true confidence in him, that is, a confidence composed of true piety, a lively faith and fervent charity, by virtue of which we will, as far as in us lies, neglect nothing appertaining to our duty and his service.

Thus it may be said that a Monad can only come into being or come to an end all at once; that is to say, it can come into being only by creation and come to an end only by annihilation, while that which is compound comes into being or comes to an end by parts.

We never have a full demonstration, although there is always an underlying reason for the truth, even if it is only perfectly understood by God, who alone penetrated the infinite series in one stroke of the mind.

It may be said likewise in respect of perfect wisdom, which is no less orderly than mathematics, that if there were not the best among all possible worlds, God would not have produced any.

Now it is evident that every true predication has some basis in the nature of things, and even when a proposition is not identical, that is, when the predicate is not expressly contained in the subject, it is still necessary that it be virtually contained in it, and this is what the philosophers call in-esse, saying thereby that the predicate is in the subject.

Since each mind is as it were a world apart, sufficient unto itself, independent of all other created things, including the infinite, expressing the universe, it is as lasting, as subsistent, and as absolute as the very universe of created things itself. We must therefore conclude that it must always play its part in the way most suited to contribute to the perfection of that society of all minds which constitutes their moral union in the City of God. Here, too, is a new and wonderfully clear proof of all the existence of God. For this perfect agreement of all these substances, which have no point of communication with one another, could only come from the one common cause.

The human race, considered in relation to the sciences which minister to our happiness, appears to me like a disorderly rabble marching in the darkness, having neither leader nor order, without password or other signals to regulate their march, or by which to know themselves. Instead of holding one another by the hand so as to guide one another and make sure of our way, we run about at random and to and fro, and even hurl ourselves one against another, far from helping and supporting each other. This means that we advance but little, or else that we know not where we are. We even plunge into morasses and shifting sands of doubt without end, wherein is nothing solid nor firm, or else we drag ourselves into the principles of very dangerous errors. Talibus in tenebris vitae tantisque periclis, it is given to no mortal to light a torch capable of dispersing this obscurity. Sects and leaders of sects serve merely to seduce us like the false lights of marsh fires; and it is left to the sun of our souls to enlighten us utterly, but in another life. Nevertheless, what we can do here is march together and in order, to share our journeyings, to make known the roads and to repair them: and finally to travel slowly, but with a firm unwavering tread, by the side of that pure and living stream of clear and simple knowledge, which has its source among us, which can serve as a comfort on our painful march, and as a thread which grows gradually larger and increases our knowledge, until at last it leads us, albeit by a roundabout way, to a delightful plain- I mean the most important practical truths which serve to content the mind and to preserve the health of the body, as far as this can be done by reason.

THEOLOGIAN: But what is to love? PHILOSOPHER: To be delighted by the happiness of another.

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.

We perceive things in three ways: through experience, through reasoning, and through a representation.

Author Picture
First Name
Gottfried
Last Name
Leibniz, fully Gottfried Wilhalm von Leibniz, Baron von Leibnitz
Birth Date
1646
Death Date
1716
Bio

German Mathematician, Philosopher, Political Advisor and Logician, Developed Infinitesimal Calculus independently of Isaac Newton