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 true I have often glanced at Galileo and Descartes, but as I have only recently become a geometrician, I was soon put off by their manner of writing, which necessitated serious thought. And personally, although I have always taken pleasure in meditations of my own, I have always found it difficult to read books which cannot be understood without much thought; for in following one's own meditations one follows a certain natural bent, and gains profit and pleasure at the same time, whereas one is terribly put out at having to follow the meditations of another.

Monas is a Greek word which signifies unity or that which is one.

Now, as there is an infinity of possible universes in the Ideas of God, and as only one of them can exist, there must be a sufficient reason for God's choice, which determines him toward one rather than another. And this reason can be found only in the fitness, or the degrees of perfection, that these worlds contain, since each possible thing has the right to claim existence in proportion to the perfection it involves.

The art of discovering the causes of phenomena, or true hypothesis, is like the art of decyphering in which an ingenious conjecture greatly shortens the road.

The original proof of necessary truths comes from the understanding alone, and all other truths come from experiences or from observations of the senses. Our mind is capable of knowing both the one sort and the other, but it is the source of the first; whatever number of particular experiences we may have of a universal truth, we cannot assure ourselves of it for always by induction, without apprehending its necessity by reason.

Therefore, I have attacked [the problem of the catenary] which I had hitherto not attempted, and with my key [the differential calculus] happily opened its secret.

Thus, although each created Monad represents the whole universe, it represents more distinctly the body which specially pertains to it, and of which it is the entelechy; and as this body expresses the whole universe through the connection of all matter in the plenum, the soul also represents the whole universe in representing this body, which belongs to it in a special way.

When a truth is necessary, the reason for it can be found by analysis, that is, by resolving it into simpler ideas and truths until the primary ones are reached. It is this way that in mathematics speculative theorems and practical canons are reduced by analysis to definitions, axioms and postulates.

It is true that a man of judgment, that is to say, one who is capable of attention and restraint, and who has the necessary leisure and patience and is open-minded enough, can understand the most difficult demonstration if it is properly put to him.

Moreover, it must be confessed that perception and that which depends upon it are inexplicable on mechanical grounds, that is to say, by means of figures and motions. And supposing there were a machine so constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, it might be conceived as increased in size, while keeping the same proportions, so that one might go into it as into a mill. That being so, we should, on examining its interior, find only parts which work one upon another, and never anything by which to explain a perception. Thus it is in a simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine that perception must be sought for.

Observable perceptions come by degrees from those which are too small to be observed.

The combination of all the tendencies to the good has produced the best; but as there are goods that are incompatible together, this combination and this result can introduce the destruction of some good, and as a result some evil.

The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously. Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic.

These gentlemen maintain, then, that space is a real absolute being; but this leads them into great difficulties. For it appears that this being must be eternal and infinite. This is why there have been some who believed that it was God Himself, or else His attribute, His immensity. But as it has parts, it is not a thing which can be appropriate to God.

To love is to be delighted by the happiness of someone, or to experience pleasure upon the happiness of another. I define this as true love.

When I tried to get to the bottom of the actual principles of mechanics in order to give an explanation of the laws of Nature which are known through experience, I became aware that the consideration of an extended mass is not of itself enough, and that use must also be made of the notion of force.

It is true that I am often of another opinion from him, but, far from denying the merit of famous writers, we bear witness to it by showing wherein and wherefore we differ from them, since we deem it necessary to prevent their authority from prevailing against reason in certain important points; besides the fact that, in convincing such excellent men, we make the truth more acceptable, and it is to be supposed that it is chiefly for truth's sake that they are laboring.

Mr. Newton says that space is the organ which God makes use of to perceive things by.

Of all beings those which are the most perfect and occupy the least possible space, that is to say those which interfere with one another the least, are the spirits whose perfections are the virtues.

The conception of God which is the most common and the most full of meaning is expressed well enough in the words: God is an absolutely perfect being.

The present is big with the future.

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