Leibnitz, Gottfried Wilhelm
Leibnitz, Gottfried Wilhelm,
Baron von-philosopher, theologian, jurist, historian, poet, mathematician, mechanician, naturalist, and votary of all arts and all sciences — was the most brilliant, profound, and versatile scholar of the century following the death of Des Cartes — perhaps of modern times. He is among the few who have earned the honors of all-embracing erudition — ultra progredi nefas est. As the opponent of Spinoza, Bayle, and Locke; as the conciliator of Plato and Aristotle; as the reverential follower of the discredited schoolmen; as the precursor of Kant, and as the vindicator "of the ways of God to man," Leibnitz occupies an equally eminent and important position in the history of philosophic opinion. His metaphysical speculations were, however, but a small portion of his labors. His greatest achievements in nearly all cases were only the liberal recreations of his idle hours. He rendered all learning and nearly all knowledge tributary to his genius, and deserved the happy eulogy of Fontenelle, that "he drove all the sciences abreast." He reformed and enlarged old systems of doctrine, he added new provinces to them, he improved their methods, he supplied them with keener instruments, he discovered new continents of study, and delineated them for future occupation and culture. Whatever region he visited in the wide circuit of his explorations was quickened into bloom and fruitage beneath his feet —
"Suaveis Daedala tellus Summittit flores."
Life. — Leibnitz was the son of Frederick Leibnitz, professor of ethics in the University of Leipsic, and was born there July 3, 1646. He was early placed at school. At six years of age he lost his father, from whom he inherited a small fortune and an extensive library. This library inspired, molded, and furnished forth his career. He buried himself in his young years amid its volumes, and delighted in the unaided perusal of the ancient classics. His attention was not confined to the great masters of style, nor to linguistic pursuits. He read with like diligence poets, orators, jurists, travelers -works of science, medicine, philosophy, and general information. Nothing came amiss to his insatiable appetite and incredible industry. At fifteen he entered the University of Leipsic, and was directed by Jacobus Thomasius to mathematical and philosophical studies. He applied himself assiduously to the writings of Plato and Aristotle, and already, at the age of eighteen, was endeavoring to harmonize and combine their antagonistic systems. One year he spent at the University of Jena, but he returned to his own city to prosecute his professional studies. Applying for the degree of doctor of law when he had scarcely attained his twentieth year, he was refused the diploma on the pretext of his youth. It was cheerfully accorded by the University of Altdorf, which tendered him a professorship; but this was declined. To this period belong his Ars Combinatoria — a curious adaptation of Raymond Lully's Art of Meditation and Logical Invention — and his Mathematical Demonstration of the Existence of God. His estimate in declining life of the former treatise may be seen from his fourth letter to Remond de Montmort in 1714.
From Altdorf Leibnitz proceeded to Nuremberg, where, in consequence of an application filled with cabalistic terms, unmeaning to himself and to every one else, he was admitted into an association for the pursuit of the philosopher's stone, and was appointed its secretary. Half a century before, Des Cartes had been similarly seduced in the same regions. From these visionary occupations the young alchemist was soon withdrawn by the baron De Boineburg, chancellor of the elector of Mayence, who recommended him to prosecute history and jurisprudence, and invited him to Frankfort, with the promise of preferment. He illustrated his change of abode by publishing Nova metholdus discendae docendeque Jurispruldenticae (1667), to which was appended a Catatlogus Desilderatolrum. The unsystematic treatment of jurisprudence had long needed reform. Leibnitz continued his efforts in this direction by an essay, De Corpore Juris reconcinnando. He contemplated at this time a new and enlarged edition of Alsted's Encyclopaedia. and never abandoned, but never commenced his design. From these vast projects he was diverted by Boineburg, at whose instance he composed a diplomatic exposition of the claims of Philip William, duke palatine of Neuburg, to the vacant throne of Poland. He declined an invitation to the duke's court, remained at Frankfort, and brought out a new edition of the forgotten work of Marius Nizolius, De Veris Principiis et Vetra Ratione Philosophandi. He added notes, and prefixed two dissertations; one on The Philosophical Style of Composition, the other On Writing the History of Philosophy. In the latter he treated of Des Cartes, Aristotle, and the schoolmen, and on the mode of harmonizing the Peripatetic with later philosophy. All his writings exhibit pronounced Cartesianism. His first approaches to physical science were made in his Theoria Motus Abstracti, containing the germs of his Calculus, and his Theoria Motus Concreti (1671). They were not favorably received; but Leibnitz was still only twenty-five years old. Next year appeared his Sacrosancta Trinitas per novan argumenta defensa, directed against Wissowatius, a Polish Unitarian. Thus, say the writers in the Biographie Universelle, "each year brought a new title of glory to Leibnitz, and gave him rank among the masters of the different sciences." He was already a counselor of the chancery of Mayence. At length his desire of seeing Paris was gratified. Boineburg sent him thither as tutor to his sons, and in charge of some public affairs. He was at once admitted into the most brilliant scientific circles, in the most brilliant period of the reign of Louis XIV. Here he made the acquaintance of Huyghens, and improved the calculating machine of Pascal. He was also induced to aid in preparing the Latin classics in usum Delphini. On the death of Boineburg (1673) he passed over into England, where he was received with distinction by Boyle, Oldenburg, and other members of the recent Royal Society. Intelligence of the demise of the elector of Mayence reached him in London. He was thus deprived of the means of support. Flattering proposals had been made to him by Louis XIV, but they had been refused, as they required adhesion to the Catholic communion. Inhis anxietv and distress, he was appointed by the dukef Brunswick a counsellor, with an adequate pension, and with the privilege of remaining abroad. He returned to Paris, and remained there fifteen months. In 1676 he revisited England, and thence proceeded to Hanover by way of Holland. Here he entered upon his duties as counselor, and-strange duties for a minister of state employed himself in arranging and enlarging the library of his protector, and improving the drainage of his mines. His services were rewarded with a considerable salary, but the duke soon died (1679). He found other employment, for he was never idle, and composed a treatise on The Rights of Ambassadors, arguing the question of States' Rights, which has assumed such prominence in Germany in recent years. The new duke of Brunswick engaged Leibnitz to compose the History of the House of Brunswick. To prepare for the task, he visited southern Germany and Italy, consulting the learned, exploring monasteries, ransacking libraries, examining old charters, deciphering moldy manuscripts, and transcribing worm-eaten documents. Whatever he undertook he projected on a scale proportionate to his own vast comprehension and various knowledge, with little regard to the legitimate magnitude of the subject, or to the brevity of human life. He brought back from his wanderings an abundant supply of diplomatic materials, which he arranged, and from which he extracted extensive works, sometimes having little direct connection with the Chronicles of Brunswick. The first-fruits of these collections were the Codex Juris Gentiumn Diplomaticus, of which the first volume was issued in 1693, in folio; the second in 1700, with the title Mantissa Codicis. Valuable as were the documents, the most valuable part of the work was the Introduction, reviewing the principles of natural and international law, and sketching the reform of civil jurisprudence ultimately achieved by Napoleon. Other works of wide comprehension were due to these archaeological researches: the demonstration of the descent of the Guelphic line from the Italian house of Este; the Accessiones Historicae (1698, 2 vols. 4to, containing a multitude of unpublished papers), and the Scriptores Rerum Brunsvicensium. The first volume of this historical collection appeared in 1707, folio; the second in 1710; the third in 1711. These extensive accumulations were only materials to be employed for The History of the House of Brunswick. In the Introduction to the Corpus Scriptorume Leibnitz discussed everything connected with the family, the realm, and the country of the Guelphs, investigating the traditions of the early tribes that dwelt on the Elbe and the Weser, tracing their changes and migrations, marshalling the passages of the ancient authors in which they were mentioned, and examining their language and the mixture of their dialects. It inaugurated ethnological science and comparative philology. His inquiries, however, stretched far beyond the incunabula gentis, and contemplated the primitive condition of the abode of the race. This preliminary outline is given in the Protogaea (1693), which founded the modern sciences of geology and physical geography. It is interesting to compare this fragmentary sketch with the Vulgar Errors of Sir Thomas Browne, and to note the immense stride which was made by Leibnitz. Of the main work, to which this essay was to be introductory — the History of the House of Brunswick — only a brief and imperfect outline was ever drawn by the accomplished author. It was published after his death by Eccard, in the Acta Eruditorium, in 1717.
These historical labors were the real task of the life of Leibnitz. But the long years of plodding industry were abundantly filled with other enterprises, and it is to them that his reputation is mainly due.
By his exertions chiefly, the Acta Eruditorum — a scientific and philosophical periodical — was established (vol. 1, Leipsic, 1682). To this he contributed largely, and in its pages appeared many of his most luminous discoveries and suggestions. In it was published his Meditationes de Cognitione, Veritate et Ideis (1684), propounding his modifications of the Cartesian doctrine of knowledge. In the same year, and in the same work, appeared his rules for the Differential Calculus, the germs of which had been indicated in his Theoria Motus Abstracti thirteen years before. He gave no demonstratilons; these were divined with wonderful ingenuity, and promulgated by the Bernouilli brothers. In 1687 the world was enriched by Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Matthenmatica Philosophica Naturalis, which employed a mathematical device closely analogous to the Calculus of Leibnitz. A bitter controversy in regard to priority of discovery and originality of invention sprung up between the partisans of these great mathematicians. It is scarcely yet terminated. The rigorous and repeated examination of the question justifies the conclusion that both had independently discovered corresponding procedures. The history of inventions is full of such coincidences. There is sufficient difference between the Fluents and Fluxions of Newton and the Calculus of Leibnitz to indicate the originality of each. Neither was the first to enter upon this line of inquiry. To Leibnitz is specially due the acquisition of the powerful instrument by which so many of the triumphs of modern science have been won. In this connection a passing reference may be made to his Arithmetica Binaria (1697) — a method of notation and computation employing only the symbols 1 and 0; and also to the Philosophy of Infinity, long meditated, but never made public.
The conception of dynamical science continually occupied the mind of Leibnitz, and was the natural tendency of his philosophical method. The Acta Eruditorunm for 1695 contained his Specimen Dynamicum; and in the same year he gave to the world, through the Journal des Scavans, his Systenma de Natura et Comamunicatione Substantiarum, itenzque Unione inter Corpus et Animam intercedente. In the latter he propounded his celebrated dogma of Pre-established Harmony. The connection between mind and body, between force and matter, between the natura naturans and the natura naturata, is still an insoluble enigma, after all the speculations of transcendental philosophy, and all the researches of modern philosophy and modern chemistry. We still grope for life in the dust and ashes of death. The veil of His has not been raised. Spencer, and Huxley, and Tyndall, et id genus onsne, are compelled to acknowledge their inability to penetrate the mystery of the connection. However tutenable, however hazardous, however absurd the Pre-established Harmony of Leibnitz may be, it was a beautiful dream, generated in some sort by the atmosphere of the time, and certainly a bold and ingenious attempt to escape from the brute mechanism of Des Cartes, the pantheism of Spinoza, the puppetry of Malebranche. and the materialism of the Sensationalists. The doctrine was illustrated, explained, and expanded in the Theodicee, and in many short essays and letters. So much, indeed, of the philosophy of Leibnitz was communicated only by occasional papers and correspondence, so little by systematic works, that it is impossible to trace the course and development of his views in any brief notice. His two formal metaphysical works belong to the last period of his life. The Nouveaux Essais, in reply to Locke, answering the English philosopher chapter by chapter, and section by section, were completed in 1704, but were not published for more than half a century. They were withheld from the press in consequence of Locke's death in that year, and were first published by Raspe in 1763. The Theodicee, which was designed as a refutation of Bayle, and was undertaken at the request of the queen of Prussia, was completed two years after the death of that princess and of Bayle, but was not published till 1710, six years before Leibnitz's own decease. Like the Nouveaux Essais, it was composed in French, of which language Leibnitz was a perfect master. It is exquisitely written, and is the finest specimen of philosophical literature since the Dialogues of Plato. A very large portion of the metaphysical and other writings of Leibnitz have been transmitted to us only by posthumous publication.
Though Leibnitz composed only these two formal treatises, his philosophical and scientific labors were multitudinous and multifarious. He was indefatigable in labor, and his mind ranged with equal rapidity and splendor over the whole domain of knowledge. Nothing was too vast for his comprehension, too dark for his penetration, too humble for his notice. He corresponded with Pelisson on the conciliation and union of the Protestant and Catholic communions, and was thus brought into connection with Bossuet. With Burnet he discussed the project of uniting the Anglicans and the Continental Protestants. He expended much time over the invention of a universal language. He wrote extensively on etymology, and the improvement of the German language, which he so rarely employed. Medicine, botany, and other branches of natural history attracted his earnest regards. He addressed a memoir to Louis XIV on the Conquest and Colonization of Egypt, with the view to establishing a Suprenacy over Europe.The age of chivalry and the Crusades was not over withhim. He certainly pointed out the road to Napoleon.He was deeply interested in the accounts of the Chinese, and in the Jesuit missions for their conversion. He wrote much upon the philosophis Sinzensis, in accordance with the delusion of the age. He engaged in an active but courteous controversy with Samuel Clarke, in which the highest and most abstruse riddles of metaphysics were discussed. From his historical researches he drew the materials for an instructive essay, De Origine Francorum (1715); and so various was the range of topics that engaged his attention, that he commented on the political position and rights of English freeholders. His mind, like the sun, surveyed all things, and brightened all that it shone upon. This enumeration of his inquiries gives a very imperfect view of either the number or the variety of his productions. The catalogue of his writings fills thirty-three pages in the 4to edition of his works by Dutens.
The literary fecundity of Leibnitz was equaled by his activity in promoting the practical interests of intelligence. His correspondence linked together the scholars of all countries, furnished a bond of connection between all learning and science, and created for the first time a universal republic of letters. He thus communicated an impulse to the dissemination of knowledge lot less potent than that given by Bacon's New Atlantis, and by the institution of the Royal Society of England. Of that society he was an adjunct member, as he was the chief of the foreign associates of the Academy of Sciences of France. He suggested to the first king of Prussia the foundation of the Royal Academy of Berlin, aided in its establishment, and became its first president (1700). He proposed a like institution for Dresden, but was frustrated by the wars in Poland, for his zeal for liberal studies was contemporaneous with the conquering campaigns of Charles XII of Sweden. When the Berlin Academy was endangered by the death of its royal founder, Leibnitz sought to open a new home for learning by establishing a similar society at Vienna (1713). The design was not carried into effect. The .exhaustion of the finances by the War of the Spanish Succession, which was scarcely closed, was unfavorable .to the scheme.
Leibnitz was warmly received, was encouraged by prince Eugene, was created a baron of the empire, and was appointed aulic counselor, with a salary of 2000 florins. Two years previously he had been consulted at Torgau, in regard to the civilization of Russia, by Peter the Great, who had made him a counselor of the Russian empire, and had conceded a handsome pension to him. All the while he remained historiographer of Brunswick. It is reported that the elector .of Brunswick was much dissatisfied with the slow progress of the history of his house. When the elector became king of England (1714), Leibnitz hastened from Vienna to pay his court to the monarch, but his new majesty had departed for his new dominions. He met the sovereign, however,. on his return to his paternal domain. The years of Leibnitz were now drawing to an end. He suffered from acute rheumatism and other painful disorders. Having much acquaintance with medicine, he tried novel remedies upon himself, with no good result. He prolonged his studies almost to his last days, and died tranquilly, with scarcely a word, on Nov. 14,1716, having reached the age of "threescore and ten years" His monument at the gates of Hanover, erected by king George, bears the modest inscription Ossa. Leibmitii.
Leibnitz was of medium height, and slender. He had a large head, black hair, which soon left him bald, and small eyes. He was very short-sighted, but his vision was otherwise sound to the end of his days. His constitution was remarkably good, for he reached old age without serious malady, notwithstanding the strain to which it was subjected. He drank moderately, but ate much, especially at supper, and immediately after this heavy meal retired to rest. He was wholly irregular in eating. He took his food whenever he was hungry, usually in his library, without abandoning his books. Frequently he took his only repose in his chair, and occasionally pursued his reflections or researches, without change of place, for weeks — Fontenelle says for months. He read everything — good books and bad books, and books on all manner of subjects. He extracted largely from the authors perused, and made copious annotations upon them. His memory was so tenacious that he rarely recurred to these Adversaria. He sought intercourse with men of all occupations and of all grades of intelligence. Every work of God or man was an object of interest and regard to him. He stretched forth his hand to everything — the election of a king of Poland, the revival of the Crusades, the conversion of the heathen, the reunion of the churches, the codification of laws, the history of a dynasty and people, the constitution of the universe, the creation of new sciences, the derivation of words, the invention of a calculating machine, the projection of a universal languages the construction of windmills, or the improvement of pleasure carriages. The extent of his correspondence was amazing, and may be conjectured from the list of distinguished correspondents culled by Brucker from the ampler catalogues of Feller and Ludovici. The courtesy of his epistles was as notable as their multitude. They were scattered over all civilized nations, and were on an endless diversity of topics, but they were uniformly marked by deference for the persons and opinions of others. This gentleness sprung from an amiable and cheerful nature. It was cultivated and refined by intercourse with princes, and statesmen, and philosophers, and scholars, and also with the humblest classes of society. It was confirmed by his belief that no honest conviction can be entirely wrong. His conversation was easy and abundant — as full of charm as of instruction. It may be conceded to Gibbon that completeness was sacrificed by Leibnitz to universality of acquirement; but, when all his gifts and accomplishments are embraced in one view, he may be justly deemed to merit the eulogy of his French editor, Jacques: "In point of speculative philosophy he is the greatest intellect of modern times; and had but two equals, but no superiors, in antiquity." Leibnitz was never married. He contemplated the experiment once, when he was fifty years of age ("de quo semel tantum in vita, atate jam provectior, sed frustra cogitavit"). The lady asked time for reflection. The opportunity for reflection cooled the ardor of the philosopher — the match was not decreed by any pre-established harmony, and the suit was not pressed.
The religious fervor of Leibnitz was undoubted, but he was negligent of the offices of religion. In his efforts to promote Christian unity, and to recognize only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," he may have felt too keenly the defects of rival creeds, so as to accept from none the truth which seemed mutilated and imperfect in each.
Philosophy. — The mathematical and scientific, the historical and juridical, the linguistic and miscellaneous speculations of Leibnitz have been noticed very inadequately, but as fully as comports with the design of this Cyclopaedia. His philosophy awaits and merits niore precise consideration. It must be premised that all his labors, however remote in appearance from philosophical speculation, were inspired and animated by his own peculiar scheme of doctrine, and were really fragmentary applications of his distinctive principles. Hence proceeded that pervading spirit of reform which is manifested in all the departments of knowledge handled by him, and which was rewarded by numerous great triumphs in so many and such dissimilar directions. When details are neglected, the whole body of his writings is found to be connected by many lines of interdependence, and to be harmonized into unity by a common relation to the central thought around which his own reflections incessantly revolved. God is one, and there must be consistency and concord in the creation of God. It is no easy a task t discern this unity, and to detect the general scheme of the Leibnitzian philosophy. Leibnitz nowhere presents a symmetrical exposition of his whole doctrine. His Monadologie, or Principia Philosophiae, seu Theses in Gratiam Principis Eugenii, furnishes a clew to his system, but it is only a slender clew. Even if the Principes de la Nature et de la Grace be added as a supplement, the guiding thread is very frail. His views must be painfully gathered from elaborate treatises, from occasional essays, from scientific papers, from passing hints, from explanations of controverted points, from elucidations of obscure or misapprehended statements, and from the series of his multifarious epistles. Here a principle is thrown out, there its applications are illustrated; in one place an erroneous conclusion or a mistaken inference is corrected, in another, or in many others, fresh limitations or further expansions of a hypothesis are proposed. These different members of the imperfect whole are separated by months or years in the life of the author, or by hundreds of pages, or whole volumes in his collected works. It required the patient diligence of Christian Wolf to combine, complete, and organize in cumbrous quartos leaves scattered like the oracles of the Sibyl. Leibnitz had, indeed, no system to propound; he had no thought of promulgating a system or of establishing a sect. Yet his mind was thoroughly systematic. The system which resulted from perfect coherence of thought was latent in his own mind from the beginning, and was consistently evolved as the occasion furnished the opportunity of presenting its several parts. The highest intellect attaches itself instinctively to a principle, and allows accident to determine how far and when its consequences shall be unrolled. Leibnitz only desired to reconcile the opinions of his illustrious predecessors; to correct the errors and to supply the deficiencies which he recognized in the theory of his chief leader, Des Cartes, and to redress the evils which had flowed logically from those errors. The main design of his profound investigations was to give precision, harmony, and veracity to the immense stock of his own acquisitions and meditations. Had he reached the years of Methuselah he might have proposed a system, but it would have been simply the rectification of Cartesianism, or the conciliation of Plato and Aristotle, of Buonaventura and Aquinas. It must be remembered that, of his two systematic treatises, one was published towards the close of his life, the other not till half a century after his death. His natural disposition apparently inclined him to accumulate knowledge for its own sake, and to reflect upon his acquisitions from his own satisfaction. He seemed to be impelled to publication only by some accidental stimulus. His whole life was a discipline and preparation for what he never found time to execute — never, perhaps, seriously thought of executing — a vast encyclopaedia embracing all that could be known by man. The hints thrown out in his long career, apt as they are for the construction of a consistent globe of speculation, only indicate an undeveloped system, which is revealed by glimpses as the need or provocation of the moment inspired. From such broken and dispersed lights his philosophy must be divined.
Leibnitz was essentially a Cartesian. He was Cartesian in his method, and Cartesian in his fundamental principles. He never revolted from his great teacher. He pursued the Cartesian mode of analysis and abstraction, he employed the Cartesian procedure by mathematical demonstration, he reasoned, like Des Cartes, from presumptive principles, he accepted the Cartesian indicia of truth; but he rendered them more irecise, and was not wholly negligent of experience. He also rehabilitated the Scholastic or Aristotelian logic. He endeavored to combine with the dominant doctrine all that seemed valuable in elder systems, and he found some truth in all the schemes that he rejected. His imagination was too bold and too active to permit him to be the servile follower of any master, and his perspicacity was too acute to overlook the fatal defects of the principles and conclusions of Des Cartes. The main errors to be corrected sprung from the distinction made by the French reformer between mind and matter. According to his theory, the one could not act upon the other. The intelligent and the material universe were thus hopelessly divorced. Mind was pure thought; matter was simple extension; the apparent concurrence of the two in the phenomena of existence was due to divine assistancy. See DES CARTES. Beasts were machines galvanized into the semblance of vohlutary action by the intervention of divine power. Every movement was a nodus vindice dignus. If mind is pure thought, all mental action must be an effluncee, an effect, or a manifestation of the one sole Intelligence. The distinction of minds was an impossibility. To Leibnitz the want of any
principium individuationis — that old war-cry of the schoolmen — was apparent. He discussed this topic in a public thesis before he was seventeen (May 30, 1663, Opera, tom. 2, part 1, p. 400, ed. Dutens). He ascribed entitative activity to matter, and a distinct entity to each individual mind. He regarded the human mind as an assemblage of dormant capacities (ἐντελεχείαι), to be called into action by the stimulation of sensations from without, and of promptings from within. He departed so far from the teachings of Des Cartes that he ascribed soul and reason to brutes. and in some sort to all matter also (Leibnitiana, § c, Opera, t. 6, part 1, p. 315; comp. § 181, p. 331; see Bayle, Dict. Hist. Crit. Lit. Rorarius, Pereira). If matter is mere extension, it must be identical with space, and is "without form and void," impalpable, inconceivable, unreal. To give shape to "that which shape had none," motion must be recognised as an essential quality of matter, because form is produced by movement in space. Leibnitz at times goes so far as to suspect that all space is matter. For the production of motion, force — determinate power in action — is necessary. Of the real existence of force the human consciousness affords assurance. From these corrections of the Cartesian postulates proceeded the mathematical and philosophical speculations of Leibnitz in regard to vis rivaer, his Theory of Motion, Abstract and Concrete. His Dynamics, and even his Calculus of lnfinitesimals. All internal and external change, all properties and accidents of matter, are only "modes of motion." The latest science is returning to similar hypotheses, though the langulage of science is altered. Observed phenomena appeared to be contradicted by the definition of body, as the conjunction of extension and motion. Bodies were often at rest, undergoing no sensible change. Motion could not belong to them essentially as aggregates, but only to the constituents from whose conjoint operation the external os the internal movements of the mass proceeled. If a property was to inhere in such constituents, matter could not be infinitely divisible: the process of division must be ultimately arrested by reaching an irreducible atom:
"Fateare necesse 'st, Esse ea, quse nullis jam praedita partibus exstent, Et minima constuent natura."
The motion attributed to these primordial particles is due to an indwelling force. Thus, from his definition of matter as the union of motion with extension, Leibnitz was led to recognize as the primary units of the universe an infinity of simple elementary substances or forces, which he designated MONADS. These monads have some resemblance to those of Pythagoras, Democritus, and Epicurus, and also to the Ideas of Plato; but, unlike the Epicurean atoms, they are not solida, though they are aeterna. They are not material, but they are the souls of matter. This vaporous dematerialization of matter may be illustrated by Plotinus's definition of matter by the successive segregation of all the properties of specific body. Is not the theory of Boscovich, that matter is only an assemblage of points of force, an adaptation of Leibnitz's conception? Has not the theory of Boscovich won admiration and hesitating approval from many distinguished men of science?
The consequences of the rectification of the Cartesian conception of matter do not end here. As the motions or manifestations of force constitute the difference between the several simple substances or monads, when there is no diversity of motion there is no difference of properties and no distinction of nature. Hence follows another dogma of Leibnitz, the Identity of Indiscernibles. The monads are infinite in number, but they are unlike, and present an infinite diversity of forces. There is also an infinite variety of gradations, from the lowest atoms of matter up through human souls to the supreme monad, or God. Each monad is in some sort the mirror of the universe of things; each possesses spontaneous energy or life within itself, and, in consequence of these characteristics, each has its own peculiar kind of reason, passive in matter unorganized, rudimentary in crystals and vegetable existence, unreflecting and instinctive in brutes, self- conscious and introspective in man, and ascending through numberless orders of angelic intelligences. As motion is the principle of quiddity ("the ghosts of defunct" terms must be evoked), force is an essential quality of all existence, and is as imperishable as the monad is indestructible, unless both are annihilated by the same Power by which they were created. Here is another anticipation of recent scientific deductions. As these forces are immutable, their separate spheres of action must be exempt from intrusion. There may be composition of motions, or equilibrium of antagonisms, but there can be no interaction or reciprocal influence.
Here presents itself the ancient insoluble enigma, How can bodies act upon each other? How can matter be molded or modified by vital action? How can it be subdued or directed by the intelligent volition of man? How can it be conjoined with spirit in any form of animate existence? Des Cartes so completely contradistinguished mind and matter that it was impossible for mind to act upon matter or matter upon mind frustra ferro diverberat
umbras. Leibnitz so completely assimilated material to spiritual existence, giving body to spirit, and spirit to body (Theod. § 124), that they were indistinguishable except by their properties the one possessing perception only, the other having apperception also. There could be no intercommunion, no reciprocal influence between them, or between any monads. To cut rather than to loose the intellectual knot, which was only rendered more intricate, Leibnitz proposed an explanation in his Systema Naturae (1695). It is his celebrated doctrine of Pre-established Harmony. The monads are forces, sometimes active, sometimes suspended, ἐνεργείαι and δυνάμεις, governed by their own inherent tendencies, and without power of acting upon each other; but their separate actions are so foreknown on one side, and predetermined on the other, in the moment of creation, that their concurrent evolutions reciprocally correspond, and effectuate all the phenomena of the universe. Mind, therefore, does not coerce matter, nor does one form of matter control another, but the inclination of the will and the disposition of the matter, or the diverse evolutions of different monads, conjoin independently and without connection in the production of one result, in consequence of the preadaptation of all the elementary forces to that particular change, at that particular moment, in that particular composition, and with that particular consequence. Dugald Stewart illustrates this harmony by the supposition of two clocks so regulated and adjusted as to strike the hours in unison. It may be an illustration; it is scarcely an elucidation of the doctrine. The agreement is only in time and performance: there is no concordance of dissimilar processes. The machinery of Divine Assistance, which Des Cartes had employed for the explanation of the phenomena of animal life, was generalized by Leibnitz, applied to the whole order of things, and transferred to the original of all creation. There is thus much more than a poetic symbolism — there is a distinctive philosophical tenet involved in his fine expression that "the universe is the knowledge of God." This preordination of concurrences, apt for each occasion, between monadic developments, each of which is determined by its own inherent force, which is will in intelligences and nature in material things, makes the whole endless series of change the realization of foreseen and prearranged correspondences. It is the continual evolution of the immeasurable plan entertained by the Creator before the beginning of the ages, and brought into act at the appointed time and in the appointed order, with mathematical precision, though beyond the calculation of mathematical devices. Certain fabrics are curiously woven with colors so arranged in the yarn that when the weaving is performed each color falls with exact propriety into its due place, and contributes accurately to form, to tint, to perfect the contemplated pattern. So, in the system of pre-established harmony, "the web of creation is woven in the loom of time," with threads prepared from the beginning to fall into the requisite connections, and to produce a foreknown design. Each concurrent movement arrives at the appropriate time and place in consequence of the whole antecedent series of changes in each case, for nowhere is there any solution of continuity, and the present is always the progeny of the past and the parent of the future. The innumerable lines of evolution continually interosculate with each other, but never are blended together. It will readily be perceived that the whole intricate phantasmagoria of these unconnected monads is only a grand and beautiful variation of the Cartesian hypothesis, and is neither more valid nor more satisfactory than the fantasy it was designed to supplant.
This doctrine of pre-established harmony is in perfect consonance with Leibnitz's vindication of the ways of God to man, if it did not necessitate his theological expositions. The Theodicee is the most exquisite, the most brilliant, the most profound, the most learned, and, in some respects, the most satisfactory of all treatises of philosophical theology. Many of its conclusions are either true, or as near the truth as the human intellect can attain in such inquiries. Others are merely conjectural, and are sometimes fantastic, as they lie beyond the domain of possible knowledge. Several of its positions have furnished pretexts for sweeping censures; but in such speculations error is inevitable, and a slight error opens the way for a host of pernicious and undesigned heresies. The most notable and characteristic of Leibnitz's theological dogmas, which provoked the malicious wit of Voltaire's Candide, is intimately associated with the explanation of the combined action of monads. This is the theory known as Optimism. Without absolutely asserting that "Whatever is, is best," it alleges that the actual world is the best of all possible worlds, despite of acknowledged evils and defects. This is supposed to be proved, among other evidences, by the Leibnitzian principle of the sufficient reason, since, if any better world had been possible, it is reasonable to suppose that it would have been selected by God in preference to that which He actually created. The acute conceptions, the ingenious arguments, the various illustrations, the abundant analogies by which this thesis is maintained and adorned, can receive here only their merited tribute of admiration. When God looked upon the work of each of the six days of creation, "He saw that it was good." More than this it is not given man to know: "that which is wanting cannot be numbered." But, if all events, if all changes, if all composite actions occur by divine pre-adaptation, it must be presumed that this is the best of worlds. There is wonderful coherence in the views of Leibnitz, interrupted and fragmentary as is their exposition. This dialectical consistency is so perfect, and in its evolution so splendid and imposing, that his scheme presents, both in the process of its construction and in its structure, the charm of a dream of the imagination. Nothing approaches it in magnificence but the ideal universe of Plato.
Of course, if this is the best of possible worlds, and if its phenomena are determined by the divine preordination or preorganization, evil, too apparent everywhere, must be merely contingent-a negative characteristic, a nonentity in itself. Leibnitz accordingly regards evil simply as imperfection — the privation of good. God is perfect: anything less than God must be imperfect. All limitation is imperfection; all imperfection is defect of good — is evil. The evil increases in quality and in degree with each remove from the perfection of the Supreme Existence. Hence, in this best of worlds, the taint of evil is over the whole creation:
"The trail of the serpent is over it all."
All this may be admitted, but it affords only an inadequate explanation. It does not justify the retribution which is merited by all evil: it does not recognize the positive character of evil as the violation of the divine law and order; it hardly permits the notion of such violation. Leibnitz denies the existence of physical evil except as a consequence of moral evil; and moral evil consists in voluntary increase of imperfection, in willful estrangement from the Supreme Monad. Even thus, no sufficient reason can be assigned for ascribing sin. and for attaching a material or moral penalty to what is the result of a natural and inevitable imperfection. This defect in the system is clearly pointed out by Kant.
The unfathomable immensity of the creation can be but dimly apprehended by the finite and fallible mind of man. The mighty plan and purpose of God cannot be compressed within the compass of human intelligence. "We see as through a glass darkly." Schemes of the universe framed from broken and darlling glimpses become more delusive as they become more systematic. Leibnitz's intuitive principles, abstract analysis and scholastic deduction were peculiarly apt to produce hallucinations.
Analysis for the discovery of ultimate abstracts; intuition for the acceptance of clear, distinct, and adequate ideas; the principle of contradiction as the test of verity; the principle of the sufficient reason as the canon of actuality — these are the metaphysical principles or postulates of Leibnitz. The resulting philosophy, both in conception and in construction, is exposed to "such tricks as hath strong imagination," and wants firm and assured foundation. It is a complex fantasy, a mathematical romance, a universe of shadows. Still, it is marked by wonderful acuteness, logical coherence, and purity of spirit. It preludes, if it does not anticipate, the main doctrines of Kant, and is the fruitful parent of all the subsequent philosophy of Germany.
This exposition presents the leading tenets, the idees meres of Leibnitz, but it affords no image of the splendid completeness of the entire theory, in which God is presented as the first beginning and the last end — the Alpha and Omega of the whole order of things in time and out of time. Nor does it do justice to the vigorous thought, the profound reflection, the comprehensive intelligence, the keen penetration, the exhaustless learning, the wealth of knowledge, the variety of illustration, the fervent and lofty morality, which give grace, and dignity, and grandeur to the whole and to all its parts. Elicdi quce potui, non ut volui, sed ut me spatii angustiae coegerunt. Fuller information must be sought from his own extensive works, and from the elucidations afforded by the numerous commentators on them.
Literature. — Leibnitii Opera (ed. Duntens, Genesis 1768, 6 vols. 4to). A complete edition of all his works is that by Pertz (Hamburg, 1845-47, 1st series; 1847, 2d series; 1853-62. 3d series). The latest is by Onno Klopp, 1st series, 1864-66 (5 vols. 8vo). Other editions are: (OEuvres (ed. Foucher de Careil. Paris, 1854 sq., 20 vols.); Deutsche Schrifien (ed. Guhrauer, Berlin, 1838); Opera Philosophica (ed. Erdmann, Berl. 1839- 40); Olell ra Motheantica (ed. Gerhardt, Berlin, 1849-50); OEuvres (ed. Jacques, Par. 1842, 2 vols. 12mo); (Eu'it 'esph ilosophiques (ed. Janet, Par. 1866, 2 vols. 8vo); Raspes, (Eu'ves Philosophiques de ftu of. Leibniz (Amsterd. et Leips. 1765. 4to); Feder, Lettres Choisies de le Correspondance de M. Leibniz (Hanover, 1805); Leibnitz, Memoir recomnmending the Conquest of Egypt to Louis XI V, etc. (London, 1801); Eccard, Leben des Leibnitz (Berl. 1740); Jancourt, V'ie del Leibniz (Amsterdam, 17 56); Gulrauer, Leben dses Leibnitz (Bresl. 1842; enlarged 1846); Vogel, Leben des Leibnitz (Leipsic, 1846); Mackie, Life of Leilnfitz
(Boston, 1845). Leibnitz transmitted an Autobiographyiq to his friend Pelisson, but it has never seen the light. See also Fontenelle. Eloge de Leibniz (Paris, 1716); Bailly, Eloge de Leibniz (Paris, 1769); Kiistner, Lobschlrift cauf Leibnitz (Altenb. 1769); Hanscins, G. G. Leiblitii Principia Philosophie more Geomaetrico denmonstrata (1728, 4to); Ludovici, Principia Leibnitiana (Lips. 1737, 2 vols. 8vo); Bayle, Hist. Crit. Dict., may be consulted, especially under the title Rorarius; Emery, Esprit de Leibniz, etc. (Lyons, 1772, 2 vols. 8vo; reprinted, Paris, 1803); Emery, Exposition de la Doctrine de Leil. niz sur la Religion (Paris, 1819, 8vo); Brucker, Hist. Crit. Philosophiae (Lips. 1767; still an indispensable authority for Leibnitz); Dugald Steweart, Suppl. Encyklop. Britannica; Sir James Mackintosh, ibid.; Morell, Jist. Philippians XIXth Century (New York, 1848, 8vo); Lews, Hist. of Philosophy (new edition, 2 vols. 8vo), vol. 2; and the othler historians of modern philosophy; Biographie Universelle, s.v. Leibniz, by Biot, Duvau, Maine de Biran, and Stapfer; Schelling, Leibnitz als Denker; Helferich, Spinoza und Leibnitz; Zimmermann, Leibnitz unt Herbart (Wien, 1849); Feuerbach, Darstellung, Entukicelung unid Kritik der Leibnitzschen Philosophie (Anspach, 1837); Leckey, Hist. of Msorals, 1:25; Baumgarten-Crusius, Dogmengesch.; Hunt, Pantheism, p. 247; Gass, Dogmengesch. vol. 2 and 3; Hurst, Hist. of Rationalism, p. 6,103; Saintes, Rationalism, p. 56; Farrar, Crit. Hist. of Free Thought, p. 56 sq.; Dorner, Gesch. d. protest. Theol. p. 684 sq.; Journal of Spec. Philos. vol. 1, No. 3, art. 1; vol. 3, No. 1, art. 5; Revue Chret. 1868, p. 9; Brewster, Life of Sir Isaac Newton; Edinb. Rev. 1846 (July); Atlantic Monthly, 1858 (June); Christian Examiner, 28:418 sq.; Contemp. Review, May, 1867, art. 3; Meth. Qu. Rev. 1851 (April), p. 189, 211; 1862 (April), p. 335; Revue des d. Mondes, 1861 (Jan.), p. 15; also (Sept.), p. 81. (G. F. H.)