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Philosophical Essays Library Binding – 1 Jan 1989


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Roger Ariew is Professor of Philosophy, University of South Florida.

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great working translation of key works. 16 Oct. 2005
By Mark Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Hackett offers once again an inexpensive translation in lucid prose. This volume features the important shorter works of Leibniz's corpus, including the "Monadology," and "Discourse on Metaphysics," together with Leibniz's correspondence with his contemporaries. Each of the works is prefaced by a short introduction, helpful for placing it in context. Editorial footnotes helpfully point out the nuance of Leibniz's language. Overall, great working translation for philosophical study or research.
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A necessary compendium of a formidable oeuvre 6 May 2000
By "tksc" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The greatness of Leibniz is undermined by the vastness of his oeuvre. It stands of no single definitive works. Like the monads that he espoused, Leibniz's writings are here, there and everywhere, each bit mirroring the whole--the universe that Leibniz envisioned. Short of an encyclopedia of Leibniz's oeuvre, this book can serve as a nearly-comprehensive collection of the 'goods.' The major pieces are kept in their entirety. Included with the likes of 'Discourse on Metaphysics,' 'New System,' 'Specimen of Dynamics,' and 'The Monadology' are formidable chunks of Leibniz's letters and occasional pieces.
To do justice to Leibniz is to immerse oneself in this great labrynth of thought. Perhaps one day a Renaissance of Leibnizian studies will flourish on the account of this collection.
This is best used as a learning material rather than light reading ... 19 July 2015
By DJ.Fishbrain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Leibniz is probably a very well written philosopher. A lot of his political views on ethics and freedoms are well credited. This is best used as a learning material rather than light reading as it tends to become repetitive to the unaccustomed reader.
21 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Useful, flawed 23 Dec. 2002
By Jonathan Bennett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Garber and Ariew did us a great service in pulling these materials together in a single inexpensive volume in English. Their choices for inclusion are terrific. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for their translations. Especially in the translations from French there are dozens of errors, many of them fairly serious. If you would like a list of them - or of the ones I have noticed
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Hopeless editorship at least in the Newton section 23 Jun. 2009
By Viktor Blasjo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I tried to read the 40-page section relating to Newton, but the editorship is quite hopeless.

First there are some haphazard extracts from letters to Huygens. The editors maintain that "in these letters ... Leibniz ... argues that all motion is relative" (p. 307). But this is not true. There is no argument. The relativity of motion is merely asserted. "I have reasons" (p. 308) to reject the bucket argument, says Leibniz, but he does not present these reasons, nor are there any references to help us. That is not what I call an argument; nor does it help us understand why on earth this letter was selected for this collection.

27 pages are devoted to Leibniz's half of the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence. No excerpts are given from Clarke's letters. Much of Leibniz's letters are paragraph-by-paragraph replies to the specific arguments raised by Clarke. Since no sane human being would want to read only the Leibniz half of this correspondence, its inclusion is virtually worthless.

Another selection is an 8-page polemic "against the revival of the qualities of the scholastics." The editors misunderstand it entirely as an "attack against Newton's theory of universal gravitation, comparing it with the occult qualities of the Scholastics" (p. 312). It is simply nothing of the sort. In fact, despite numerous references to scores of scientists and philosophers, Newton is never mentioned once in this entire essay. Let us look at the passages that prompts the editors' confusion. Here is one:

"It pleases others to return the occult qualities or to Scholastic faculties, but since those crude philosophers and physicians [see that] those [terms are] in bad repute ... they call them forces. ... these persons imagine specific forces, and vary them as the need arises. They bring forth attractive, retentive, repulsive, directive, expansive, and contractive faculties." (p. 313)

Who in their right mind could take this for a description of Newton's work?

Another example: "those who have shown that the astronomical laws can be explained by assuming the mutual gravitation of the planets have done something very worthwhile, even if they may not have given the reason for this gravitation. But of certain people, abusing this beautiful discovery, think that the explanation given is so satisfactory that there is nothing left to explain, and if they think that gravity is a thing essential to matter, then they slip back into barbarism in physics and into the occult qualities of the Scholastics." (p. 314).

Again Newton cannot be the target since he explicitly disavowed this very proposition. Nor do Leibniz intend him to be the target: it is crystal clear to anyone capable of reading (which apparently excludes our editors) that Leibniz is saying that Newton made a "very worthwhile" "beautiful discovery" that only "others" have "abused."
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