The Leibniz Review 13:67-81 (2003)

Patrick Thomas Riley
Harvard University
Leibniz’s Méditation sur la notion commune de la justice is his most important writing on justice as “wise charity” and “universal benevolence” ; we now observe the 300th anniversary of its composition, and a reproduction of part of Leibniz’s manuscript appears in the Appendix to this article. But Leibniz’s essay might with equal justice be called, “Meditation on the Common Notion of Platonism”—for the Méditation opens with a nearly-verbatim paraphrase of Euthyphro 9e-10e, moves on to reduce Hobbes to Thrasymachus in Republic Book I, and ends with Platonic “ascent,” in the manner of Phaedrus and Symposium, from mere negative forbearance from harm to justice as wise love, caritas, Roman-law honeste vivere, and benevolent “aid to others”—as in Augustine’s Platonizing De Civitate Dei XIX).
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
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ISBN(s) 1524-1556
DOI 10.5840/leibniz2003132
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