Leibniz on Mathematics, Methodology, and the Good: A Reconsideration of the Place of Mathematics in Leibniz's Philosophy

Early Science and Medicine 11 (4):424-454 (2006)


Scholars have long been interested in the relation between Leibniz, the metaphysician-theologian, and Leibniz, the logician-mathematician. In this collection, we consider the important roles that rhetoric and the "art of thinking" have played in the development of mathematical ideas. By placing Leibniz in this rhetorical tradition, the present essay shows the extent to which he was a rhetorical thinker, and thereby answers the question about the relation between his work as a logician-mathematician and his other work. It becomes clear that mathematics and logic are a part of his rhetorical methodology, because they constitute one set of tools that he used to excavate the truth. Mathematical and logical insights are thus all part of his "art of thinking," employed in the service of philosophy.


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