Leibniz (1646-1716) was a true polymath and has been called the most comprehensive thinker since Aristotle. In these two great works by the founder of modern German speculative philosophy, the reader is introduced to Leibniz's matephysics, including his conception of physical substance, the motion and resistance of bodies, and the role of the divine within the dynamic universe.
GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ was born in Leipzig, Germany, on July 1, 1646. Showing signs of a prodigious intellect even at an early age, Leibniz entered the University of Leipzig at fifteen to study law, mathematics, and phi-losophy. Since Leipzig refused to grant him a doctoral degree because of his youth, Leibniz transferred to the University at Altdorf, near Nuremberg, where he received his doctorate in 1666, before his twenty-first birthday. Shortly thereafter, Leibniz entered the civil service, first with the Elector of Mainz and later with the ducal family of Braunschweig-Lueneburg. Leibniz's diplomatic missions took him to Paris, London, Amsterdam, and finally, Hanover, where he made his home. Opportunities for travel brought Leibniz into contact with the leading luminaries of the day, including the philosophers Nicolas de Malebranche and Baruch de Spinoza, and the mathematician Christiaan Huygens. A true polymath, Leibniz wrote ex-tensively on legal, cultural, and political affairs; compiled an official history of the Braunschweig family; and made seminal contributions to mathematics, theology, and phi-losophy. In his two great philosophical works, the Discourse on Metaphysics and the Monadology, Leibniz outlined his metaphysical system, including his conception of physical substance, the motion and resistance of bodies, and the role of the divine within the dynamic universe. For his diplomatic and scholarly achievements, Leibniz was honored by being made a member of the Academy of Sciences in Paris, president of the Berlin Academy, privy councillor to royalty, and a baronet of the empire. Yet Leibniz's last years were dogged by illness and increasing neglect by those who regarded him as heterodox in religion. He died in Hanover on November 14, 1716. Leibniz's other works include a code of international law; Systema theologicum (1687); and Essais de theodicee (1710), his most important work in theology.