It was Thomasius more than anyone else perhaps who instilled in Leibniz a great respect for ancient and medieval philosophy.Indeed, one of the leitmotifs of Leibniz's philosophical career is his desire to reconcile the modern philosophy with the philosophy of Aristotle, Plato, the Scholastics and the Renaissance humanist tradition.On the way to Hanover, Leibniz stopped in Amsterdam to meet with Spinoza between November 18 and 21, 1676, three months before the latter's death; according to Leibniz's own notes, they spoke of Spinoza's yet-to-be-published , Cartesian physics, and Leibniz's improved version of the ontological argument (see below).Although Leibniz would travel to Italy for a time in the late 1680s in order to conduct historical research for the House of Hanover and make many shorter trips (including to Vienna), the rest of his life was essentially spent in Hanover and its environs, working in different capacities for the court, first, for Johann Friedrich until his death in 1680, then for Johann Friedrich's brother, Ernst August (from 1680 to 1698), and finally for the latter's son, Georg Ludwig, who in 1714 would become George I of England.Leibniz was able to stay in Paris for four years (with a brief trip to London in 1673), during which time he met many of the major figures of the intellectual world, among them Antoine Arnauld, Nicholas Malebranche, and, most important, the Dutch mathematician and physicist, Christiaan Huygens.It was he, “the great Huygenius” (as John Locke would call him in the Dedicatory Epistle to his ), who took Leibniz under his wing and tutored him in the developments in philosophy, physics, and mathematics.(Leibniz exchanged letters with over 1100 different people in the course of his life.) Despite the great demands placed on Leibniz as librarian, then historian, and Privy Councillor at the court of Hanover, he was able to complete work that, in its breadth, depth, and sheer quantity, is staggering. He was engaged in a vituperative debate with Newton and his followers over the priority of the discovery of the calculus, even being accused of stealing Newton's ideas.
Leibniz also turned his mind to natural philosophy, having finally been able to study some of the works of the moderns; the result was a two-part treatise in 1671, the ), was dedicated to the Royal Society in London.Leibniz's relations with Ernst August and Georg Ludwig were not as amicable as his relations with his original employer, but he was close to Sophie, the wife of Ernst August and youngest sister of Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, with whom Descartes had an important philosophical correspondence.(Sophie was also the daughter of Elizabeth Stuart, and it is for this reason that her son became King of England.) While Leibniz may have felt physically isolated from the intellectual scene of Europe, he did manage to stay connected through a vast network of correspondents.Note that throughout this entry, the following standard abbreviations are used: PC (Principle of Contradiction), PSR (Principle of Sufficient Reason), PII (Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles), PIN (Predicate-in-Notion Principle), and CIC (Complete Individual Concept).Leibniz was born in Leipzig on July 1, 1646, two years prior to the end of the Thirty Years War, which had ravaged central Europe.He was given access to his father's extensive library at a young age and proceeded to pore over its contents, particularly the volumes of ancient history and the Church Fathers.In 1661 Leibniz began his formal university education at the University of Leipzig.While Leibniz was living the life of the mind in Paris, his employer died, and Leibniz was thus forced to look for another position.He eventually found one as the librarian for Duke Johann Friedrich of Brunswick, who ruled in Hanover.Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) was one of the great thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is known as the last “universal genius”.He made deep and important contributions to the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of religion, as well as mathematics, physics, geology, jurisprudence, and history.