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Author photo. Painting by Bernhard Christoph Francke (ca. 1700)

Painting by Bernhard Christoph Francke (ca. 1700)

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, one of the last real polymaths, was born in Leipzig. Educated there and at the Universities at Jena and Altdorf, he then served as a diplomat for the Elector of Mainz and was sent to Paris, where he lived for a few years and came into contact with leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians. During a trip to England, he was elected to the Royal Society; he made a visit to Holland to meet Spinoza. Back in Germany he became librarian to the Duke of Brunswick, whose library was the largest in Europe outside the Vatican. From there he became involved in government affairs in Hanover and later settled in Berlin at the court of Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia. Leibniz was involved in the diplomatic negotiations that led to the Hanoverian succession to the English throne. From his university days he showed an interest in mathematics, logic, physics, law, linguistics, and history, as well as theology and practical political affairs. He discovered calculus independently of Newton and had a protracted squabble about which of them should be given credit for the achievement. The developer of much of what is now modern logic, he discovered some important physical laws and offered a physical theory that is close to some twentieth-century conceptions. Leibniz was interested in developing a universal language and tried to master the elements of all languages. Leibniz corresponded widely with scholars all over Europe and with some Jesuit missionaries in China. His philosophy was largely worked out in answer to those of other thinkers, such as Locke, Malebranche, Bayle, and Arnauld. Although he published comparatively little during his lifetime, Leibniz left an enormous mass of unpublished papers, drafts of works, and notes on topics of interest. His library, which has been preserved, contains annotations, analyses, and often refutations of works he read. The project of publishing all of his writings, undertaken in the 1920s by the Prussian Academy, was delayed by World War II but was resumed thereafter. It is not likely that the project will be completed in the twentieth century. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from Philosophical Essays
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Philosophical Essays 448 copies, 2 reviews
New Essays on Human Understanding 230 copies, 3 reviews
Discourse on Metaphysics 195 copies, 3 reviews
Monadology (Author) 175 copies, 5 reviews
Writings on China 32 copies, 2 reviews
Leibniz 19 copies
Protogaea 14 copies
Filosofía para princesas 9 copies, 1 review
Antología (Author) 4 copies
Auswahl aus seinen Werken (Author) 3 copies
Leibniz 2 copies
Briefwechsel 2 copies
Caracteristique geometrique (Author) 2 copies
Werke 1 copy
Selections 1 copy
Politische Schriften (Author) 1 copy
Leibniz 1 copy
The European Philosophers from Descartes to Nietzsche (Contributor) 386 copies, 3 reviews
Western Philosophy: An Anthology (Author, some editions) 158 copies
Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology (Contributor) 61 copies
Wijsgerige teksten over de wereld (Contributor) 2 copies

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Short biography
Leibniz, one of the great contributors to the Age of Enlightenment, wanted to collate all human knowledge -- but was unable to do so.  However, among his many accomplishments, he developed the present day notation for differential and integral calculus, and the binary number system at the basis of digital computers.  He was one of the 17th century's great advocates of rationalism along with Descartes and Spinoza.  A prolific writer on a vast array of subjects, Leibnitz left behind at his death tens of thousands of letters and unpublished manuscripts. 
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