A Brief Historiography of Leibniz Studies

  • Allison P. Coudert
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 142)


E. J. Aiton, who published his important and immensely informative biography of Leibniz in 1976, followed in the footsteps of Russell, Rescher, and others and concluded that Leibniz’s mature philosophy was virtually in place by 1686 when the Discourse was published:71

That Leibniz himself regarded the Discourse on metaphysics as marking a decisive stage in the development of his philosophy is shown by his remark to Thomas Burnett in a letter of May 1697, that he was only satisfied with the philosophical ideas he had held from about 1685. Although many of the ideas had been germinating from his university days and are to be found in earlier works — for example, the subject-predicated logic in De arte combinatoria, the idea of harmony in the Confession of nature against atheists,the principle of sufficient reason in the letter to Wedderkopf, substantial forms in the letter to Thomasius and the idea of the best in a note written after his meeting with Spinoza — the Discourse on metaphysics is the first of Leibniz’s writings to bind them together in a coherent system.72


Plastic Nature Cartesian Theory Corporeal Substance Phenomenalistic Account Scholastic Theology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison P. Coudert
    • 1
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityArizonaUSA

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