The Leibniz Review 14:65-88 (2004)

Patrick Thomas Riley
Harvard University
The latest volume of Leibniz’ Politische Schriften, in the great Akademie-Ausgabe of the Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe, reveals the astonishing range of Leibniz’ political-moral-legal-religious-scientific-cultural concerns: if the first, largest and most important section of this new fifth volume deals with justice and law, that is only to be expected, since Leibniz’ doctoral degree was in law and jurisprudence, and since he served as jurisconsult and “intimate counsellor of justice” to an ever-expanding circle of European rulers: first the Elector of Mainz, then the house of Hannover, then the King of Prussia in Berlin, the Emperor in Vienna, and Czar Peter the Great.. But Politische Schriften vol. 5 also treats “church policy” and charitable religious reconciliation—including a Latin memorial poem on the death of benevolently ecumenical Huguenot-turned-Catholic Pellisson ; the raising of Hannover to the status of an Electorate within the Holy Roman Empire; and the relations of the Reich with Europe, especially with the France of bellicose Louis XIV. Moreover vol. 5 takes up “health policy,” the improvement of the coinage, and numerous schemes for the rational re-ordering of the ducal libraries of Hannover and Wolfenbüttel, with emphasis on books in the so-called “higher-faculties”. And all of these apparently diverse, seemingly scattered matters are coherently linked by Leibniz’ charitable concern for le bien général du genre humain: “Provided that something of importance is achieved, I am indifferent whether it is done in Germany or France, for I seek the good of mankind. I am neither a phil-Hellene nor a philo-Roman, but a philanthropos.”
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 1524-1556
DOI 10.5840/leibniz20041410
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