The Leibniz Review 3:14-16 (1993)

Richard T. W. Arthur
McMaster University
Despite his fame as a philosopher, Leibniz was a diplomat by profession, and seldom managed to engage in sustained philosophical activity for any length of time. One exception to this, though, is the period towards the end of his stay in Paris and a little afterwards, when he launched a concerted attack on most of the profoundest problems in metaphysics, tackling them with a penetration and persistence that is remarkable by any standards. The resulting series of “meditations”, to use his own descriptive term, penned between December of 1675 and his arrival at the court in Hanover in December of 1676, has been available for the greater part of this century only to a handful of Leibniz scholars. An edition was published in Kazan in 1913 by Ivan Jagodinsky, and it is from this source that Loemker drew to give a tantalizingly brief selection of the ‘Paris Notes’ in his well known volume of English translations. But Jagodinsky’s edition is as unreliable as it is rare, and it was not until recently that Leibniz scholars were presented with an authoritative and wholly reliable Latin edition by the German Academy of Science at Berlin, volume 3 of Series VI of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe. In this volume most of the notes on metaphysics are collected together in Section F under the title De Summa Rerum, where they consitute articles 57 through 87. This fine edition, however, is of limited use for those having no Latin or German, and even for those who do, it is scarcely either convenient or affordable.
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
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ISBN(s) 1524-1556
DOI leibniz199334
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