One of the most famous of all recorded philosophical controversies was that which took place between Leibniz and Samuel Clarke in 1715-6. In writing to Princess Caroline, Leibniz made stinging reference to the deleterious effect of the Newtonian philosophy on natural religion. The Princess mentioned this to another friend of hers, Clarke, an Anglican divine of a deist turn of mind who had ten years before achieved fame by his Boyle lectures in which he attempted to prove the existence of God by means of the new “mathematical” philosophy, and who held “as a most certain and evident truth that from the earliest antiquity to this day the foundations of natural religion had never been so deeply and so firmly laid as in the mathematical and experimental philosophy of that great man”. The correspondence which ensued was lively and at times acrimonious, reminding one of the earlier controversy concerning the discovery of the infinitesimal calculus, in which Newton had attacked Leibniz through someone else’s mouth.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0554-0739
DOI 10.5840/philstudies19566017
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