Sunday, May 10, 2009

37 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Leibnitz was a German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, historian and diplomate. He was the son of a professor in Leipzig and had access to a large library.

He was a precocious child, a Mr. Clever at young age. He was not permitted to present himself for the doctorate of laws in 1666, on the ground that he was too young! Well....he was 20 years old then.

It is hard to give a comprehensive description of Leibniz. He met people like Malebranche and Spinoza, traveled all over Europe, read and wrote extensively on dozens of subjects. A man of his time....

I suspect a relation between the multitude of subjects Leibniz was interested in. It was not like make a note of the ISBN number and order the book at

Books must have been rahter rare things in those days, only available to the rich and what I suspect is that the first thing Leibniz did when he arrived in a new town: visit the bookstore. The man was interested in so many subjects.

There is one interesting idea he had: he suggested that there should be created an encyclopedia of all human knowledge.

Leibniz thought that the fuller knowledge of the world made available by such an encyclopedia would be conducive to piety by bringing out the richness and variety in the world and thus testifying to God's wisdom and power.

And there it i again: god is incorperated in any philosophy without question. He always becomes the explaining factor. It is interesting to see that the great minds of those days, Descartes, Pascal, Malebranche, Arnauld, Spinoza never questioned this way of explaining reality.

There seems to be an irresitable urge in the human mind to believe that there is something more, something bigger, something which is all in perfection what we arent. An interesting subject to elaborate on....but not today.

Let's have a closer look at some ontological ideas of Leibniz. To him reality was composed of an infinite number of ENS SINGULARE, singular beings, which he called MONADS.

Leibniz saw these substances in an Aristotelian way. He wasn't modern or innovative in that respect. The monads had a teleological drive: self-realization. And in that process they didnt interact with other monads. A monad is self had no windows as Leibniz said.

What are modads.....well....from a single pebble to a plant, an animal, a man and at the end God. But when they dont interact with eachother, how can there be this world-order we have?

There only can be one explanation: God installed a pre-established harmony between all monads in his creation. It is like you see ten clocks ticking in perfect harmony. In such a harmony that you cant ignore the idea that there is some invisible mechanism, which make them tick in such perfect harmony. But there isnt..there only was the perfect craftmanship of the clockmaker.

This way of thinking was so obvious in those days. Monads bump into eachother. There is movement and in those days you had scientisct like Newton and Huygens who discovered mathematical laws regarding the movements of colliding objects. Dont forget that causality and how to explain that was a big issue in those days too.

And the final goal of Monad man was what we have heard before from the scholatics on: to reach the highest level of consciousness, which means something like being one with god spiritually.

A few final remarks. Leibniz was the first German who entered the arena of philosophy. You can speculate on an explanation, but more interesting it is to see how the history of Europe is so dominated by those three countries: France, the UK and Germany. And from now on we may look forward to some great german philosophers too

An other thing is Leibniz' idea of an encyclopedia. A hundred years earlier all human 'scientific' knowledge might have fit on one bookshelf, but now in the age of science scientific knowledge is expanding. The need to keep all knowledge together comes up.

Three years before the death of Leibniz a boy was born (1613)....Denis Diderot...He would realize Leibniz' dream. It is remarkable how ideas develop through history.

Leibniz's death passed almost unnocticed by both his royal patrons in those days and the intellectual world.

The Discussion

[13:10] Herman Bergson: Well..before we begin about Leibniz let's first mentin another great philosohper...Aristotle..:-)
[13:10] Herman Bergson: we have the honor to have him among us..
[13:10] Laila Schuman: smiles
[13:10] Herman Bergson: and I put up a sign so you can learn what he has to offer...
[13:11] Herman Bergson: I am most gratefull for your work Aristotle..thank you
[13:11] AristotleVon Doobie: you are indeed welcome
[13:11] Gemma Cleanslate: it is really a wonderful piece of work!!!
[13:11] Herman Bergson: Keep up this good work
[13:11] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:12] Herman Bergson: let's begin our class

[13:22] itsme Frederix: are you referring to the encyclope-people
[13:22] Herman Bergson: And the person that interrupted our lecture definitely was not a MONAD, but a NOMAD
[13:22] Antonioni Capalini: LOL
[13:22] skep Book: lol
[13:22] Ze Novikov: heehee
[13:23] Herman Bergson: Yes....Diderot was one of the encyclopedists
[13:23] itsme Frederix: oke, Yes Leibniz was a great mathematican to - unbelievable waht these guys did then -
[13:23] Herman Bergson: yes indeed Itsme
[13:24] Osrum Sands: clearly but remember that each of the fields of knowledge he studies were in no way as complex as they are today
[13:24] itsme Frederix: I did some math, but even do not understand all Leibniz/Newton did with calculus
[13:24] hope63 Shepherd: herman.. you put so much emphasis in the past on the philosophers who enabled science in a church dominated time.. why not accept that leibniz was a brilliant scientist who of course.normal in those days . thought of philosophy in terms of his time..
[13:24] itsme Frederix: Ossum try to do calculus and you might see it different
[13:25] Osrum Sands: no thanks
[13:25] Herman Bergson: what I try to make clear is just what you say Hope....they were philosophers in their time
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: yes.. but they were first of all scientists..
[13:25] itsme Frederix: they were the last omni man
[13:26] hope63 Shepherd: right itsme.. the last universal thinkers..
[13:26] Herman Bergson: What takes place in the days from Descartes to Leibniz is a scientific revolution...
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: yet even as smart as this man was he could not break free from religion
[13:27] itsme Frederix: well Hope, the last that thought they could span the universe (at least knowledge known)
[13:27] Herman Bergson: That is what science is going to cause...
[13:27] Antonioni Capalini: you assume that all intelligent people break fee from religion? ;-)
[13:27] Herman Bergson: From now on there is no way back
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: well yes
[13:27] skep Book: did you think his religion is what made him?
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Wait ...hold on
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: there are those who firmly believe that science and philosophy are the same just a different way of looking at life and the world
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Hold on..
[13:28] Osrum Sands: Albert Einstine did not break free from God
[13:28] Herman Bergson: plz?!
[13:29] hope63 Shepherd: ari.. they lived 2700 years under the the dominance of religious thought.. we live since approx. 200 and so,me years under the dominance of the idea iff democracy. any reason why this should be the only solution in our world just because the western world think like that.. and bush and friends use it like the church in tthe time of the conquista?
[13:29] Osrum Sands: sorry
[13:29] Gray Cardiff: not many scientist do
[13:29] hope63 Shepherd: right os..
[13:29] Herman Bergson: Before we get stranded in endless discussions about religion let me make one thing clear...
[13:30] Herman Bergson: What we are dealing with here is philosophy, philosophical questions
[13:30] Herman Bergson: these are ontological and epistemological questions..
[13:30] Osrum Sands: talking about religion is different from talking about God
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: my point is that the metphysical seems to permeatre all his philosophy
[13:30] hope63 Shepherd: ok.. leibniz was a logic wizzard.. and loved it..
[13:31] Riven Flare: lol lets see if I stay.. after it rezzes again
[13:31] Osrum Sands: religion is mans attempt to describe to mystries in life
[13:31] hope63 Shepherd: well said os.
[13:31] Osrum Sands: and controll a people
[13:31] Herman Bergson: What I want to say is, that in these questions or better in the answers to these questions there always has been a god to give the final expalnation
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: these mysteries arnt they just ignorance of the truth?
[13:31] Riven Flare: yes Osrum good viewpoint
[13:32] Herman Bergson: and from now on this will gonna change...
[13:32] hope63 Shepherd: truth? you have it ari -give it to us lol
[13:32] Antonioni Capalini: LOL
[13:32] Osrum Sands: Ah the lonley voice of youth cries out once more through the ages 'What is truth'
[13:32] itsme Frederix: @Herman, ... but there is the temption of another god .. science
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: I am looking for it Hope
[13:32] skep Book: yes it is but your words put people down if they believe in a god
[13:32] Cailleach Shan: Back to the same old question...
[13:32] Riven Flare: truth like all things is a perception
[13:33] Herman Bergson: No...the philosophical question is another one Itsme...
[13:33] Osrum Sands: or is it a reality
[13:33] skep Book: all have the right to believe as they want
[13:33] Herman Bergson: If you refrain from interrupting I will make my point
[13:33] Riven Flare: pls Herman go on
[13:33] itsme Frederix: Herman, ... in much philosophical discussions science is playing a (wrong) role like god did
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: time for caps!!!!!
[13:34] Herman Bergson: Could everyone keep silent now plz...
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: the philosophical question is: what the hell is going on here.. what the hell am i.. why the hell do i as i do.. and so
[13:34] Herman Bergson: OK THANK YOU
[13:34] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:34] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:35] Herman Bergson: the matter here at stake is much more fundamental than just religion...
[13:35] Herman Bergson: Hope...shut up
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: lol... no offense meant.. herman.. i stuck to jaspers..:)
[13:35] Herman Bergson: As I said...much more fundamental....
[13:36] Herman Bergson: In a way Itsme already indicated as a new religion....
[13:36] Herman Bergson: but you have to look deeper....
[13:36] itsme Frederix: show us Herman
[13:36] Herman Bergson: epistemologically we make a difference between knowledge and belief
[13:36] Ze Novikov: yep
[13:37] Rodney Handrick: I think science and religion have always been interconnected...
[13:37] Herman Bergson: knowledge (and I do it loosely now) we could define as things we are certain of
[13:37] Herman Bergson: and belief is something we are not 100% certain of...
[13:37] Herman Bergson: BUT....
[13:38] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:38] Herman Bergson: at the basis of all our knowledge we find no certainty, but postulates...
[13:38] Herman Bergson: things which we take for certain.....
[13:39] Herman Bergson: That is what the rationalists did......look for clear and distinct ideas according to Descartes...
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Leibniz did the same....
[13:39] Herman Bergson: He discriminated between vertité de raison..and verité de fait....
[13:40] Herman Bergson: truth from reason and truth from facts...
[13:40] Herman Bergson: only the truth form reason gave absolute certainty
[13:40] Herman Bergson: truth from facts was only inductive
[13:41] Herman Bergson: so we can skip all discussion on religion.....
[13:41] Osrum Sands: thank God
[13:41] Cailleach Shan: Whew.....
[13:41] Riven Flare: lol
[13:41] Antonioni Capalini: LMAO
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: IF we can keep it out
[13:41] Herman Bergson: we have to look at philosophy with the question How can we decide on what knowledge is and what is belief
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: herman.. isn't at the origin mathematics.. we saw it with the greeks at the beginning... and all the pèhilosphers we talk about since some time were great math.cracks..
[13:42] Herman Bergson: Besides that...!!!
[13:42] Riven Flare: how about looking at it as belief is something we cannot yet prove
[13:42] Herman Bergson: I am ONLY talking about religion or the concept of god from an epistemological perspective...
[13:42] itsme Frederix: @Herman, thx for the outstanding summary - seems rationalism is a kind off idealism then - and Hegel was right abstract things are most clear
[13:43] Herman Bergson: We willcome to that in time Itsme...
[13:43] Herman Bergson: What I WANT to make clear....
[[13:43] Herman Bergson: is that here we are talking about philosophical questions
[13:44] Herman Bergson: while a lot of questions whether, why, how people believe are psycholochical or sociological questions...
[13:44] Herman Bergson: so keep that in mind...
[13:44] Osrum Sands: good point
[13:45] Herman Bergson: it is completly uninteresting if you are a brillant mind and appear to believe in god or are religious.....question for a psychlogist..not an epistemological question
[13:45] itsme Frederix: maybe we better not talk about these things, ... of what thou can not speak thou shall be silent (W.)
[13:45] hope63 Shepherd: so how herman did math come into philosophy.. ( in know.. but its science.. and a basis for philosphical answers too..)
[13:45] hope63 Shepherd: including religion..
[13:46] Herman Bergson: math didnt come into philosophy...logic did
[13:46] Herman Bergson: and math is just a language based on logic
[13:46] Rodney Handrick: well isn't math logic?
[13:46] hope63 Shepherd: but logic has its reason based on mathematical concepts- or am i wrong..
[13:47] Herman Bergson: not exactly in my opinion Rodney
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: historically you can not separate religion from philosophy because the philosophers themsevles use religion to justify the philosophy
[13:47] hope63 Shepherd: i read leibniz admired phythagoras..
[13:47] Herman Bergson: for instance trigoniometry isnt just about valid inference and truth values of statements
[13:48] Herman Bergson: should refrain from such statements....
[13:48] itsme Frederix: @hope you should read Hilbert and Russell and finaly Godel - logic is a problem
[13:48] Herman Bergson: And let me explain WHY
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: seems that it wasn't foir leibniz..
[13:49] Herman Bergson: What you should have said philosophically Aristotle should be....
[13:49] Herman Bergson: I see through history that philosophers based a lot of their ontology on belief statements
[13:49] Herman Bergson: or on non empirical staements
[13:49] Herman Bergson: or on postulates..
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: yes you are right, I am not at my best today
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:50] Herman Bergson: the word religion is comlpetely useless because of all its connotations
[13:50] itsme Frederix: @Aristotle well you gave us a reason to argue - thats a good thing
[13:50] Osrum Sands: thats clear
[13:50] hope63 Shepherd: skepticism the word we should learn?
[13:50] Herman Bergson: sorry Aristotle...wasnt my intention to be hard on you..
[13:51] Herman Bergson: But I want this point clear...
[13:51] Herman Bergson: we can talk about knowledge and belief, we dont talk about religion withing the context of epistemological discourse..:-)
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: very well
[13:52] Herman Bergson: When we would talk about ethics it would be completely different debate..
[13:52] Herman Bergson: well....I had to get it of my chest..:-)
[13:53] Antonioni Capalini: let it all out herman :)
[13:53] Herman Bergson: lol
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: no offense taken
[13:53] Riven Flare: yeah come on lets hear it all
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: Let all agree to try and stay within those parameters from now on
[13:53] Laila Schuman: YES!!
[13:53] Herman Bergson: yes Gemma..good point
[13:53] Ze Novikov: ty!
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: there is a good group here this week
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: to remind each other
[13:54] Cailleach Shan: It's going to be much quieter I think.
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: lol;
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: not necessarily
[13:54] Herman Bergson: How so Caileach?
[13:54] itsme Frederix: well just be critical to yourself and others - it's something easily done wrong
[13:54] Osrum Sands: this is a class learning about these people and not as such a discussion group
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: we wil try to approach things from a different angle
[13:54] Cailleach Shan: More structured then...
[13:54] Laila Schuman: you can explore ideas more deeply... you don't have to get off the subject to do so
[13:55] Herman Bergson: My greatest worry is that we drown in general staement....
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman is right I would have been more tactful
[13:55] Herman Bergson: and such general terms as religion lead easily to that
[13:55] Osrum Sands: or metaphysical ones
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: not just you ARI
[13:56] Laila Schuman: nods
[13:56] itsme Frederix: @Herman right you are - it's not a historical school here - there has to be something original
[13:56] Herman Bergson: In my heart and bones I am an analytical philosopher...
[13:56] itsme Frederix: So that's your color
[13:57] hope63 Shepherd: well it will be difficult in such a short time not to finish in general terms when i read that the writings of leibniz will not be published before arround 2020-30- to much written..
[13:57] Herman Bergson: and what I want to show you is the development of philosphy helping you to get into the fundamental questions in an analytical way..
[13:57] itsme Frederix: @Herman thats a very nobel goal
[13:57] Herman Bergson: we are not looking for answers here....
[13:57] Ze Novikov: :-)
[13:58] Herman Bergson: we are looking for the right questions
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:58] Osrum Sands: ah we bring Modernities second great discourse into things -'Discipline
[13:58] Laila Schuman: !!!!!
[13:58] Herman Bergson: We did great today...
[13:58] itsme Frederix: excuse me
[13:58] hope63 Shepherd: hmmm. what i said about 3 months ago lol
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: well I encourage all to make me ask myself questions
[13:59] Herman Bergson: I think we hit some funamental issues today..
[13:59] Osrum Sands: the first of Modernities discourses being freedom
[13:59] Osrum Sands: we are all free to think
[13:59] Osrum Sands: but a little discipline will help produce a better outcome
[13:59] hope63 Shepherd: os.. are we..:)
[14:00] Cailleach Shan: Yes, the temptation is to think 'out loud'
[14:00] Osrum Sands: surly thats for a discussion group and not a class
[14:00] Herman Bergson: I think that when you reread the discussion on the blog or in the mailing of Aristotle, you will see how good it was
[14:00] hope63 Shepherd: where is the mailing of ari?
[14:00] jaz123 Trilling is Offline
[14:01] Herman Bergson: read the sign Hope
[14:01] Herman Bergson: It is written on the wall...:-)
[14:01] hope63 Shepherd: written in fire by ari lol.. sorry..
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: lol
[14:01] Herman Bergson: No ..I did that..:-)
[14:01] Osrum Sands: Albert Einstine said that 'The most beautifull and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. And this mystical is the power of all true science.'
[14:02] Rodney Handrick: I believe that Osrum
[14:02] Cailleach Shan: That is beautiful Os.
[14:02] Osrum Sands: its not mine
[14:02] Herman Bergson: yes osrum and what he meant is exactly what I meant before
[14:03] Osrum Sands: ok
[14:03] hope63 Shepherd: actually i think that is what ockram thought..
[14:03] Herman Bergson: at the very beginning of our knowledge..our certainty of knowledge you only find postulates
[14:03] hope63 Shepherd: unconciously..:)
[14:03] Osrum Sands: nice and different way to say it
[14:03] Osrum Sands: :)
[14:04] Herman Bergson: statements you hold true without proof
[14:04] Osrum Sands: back to the shifting sand once more
[14:04] Herman Bergson: Like the simple laws of logic...
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: the elusive butterfly
[14:05] hope63 Shepherd: 2 + 2 - a postulate or truth?
[14:05] Herman Bergson: somewhere I read that some phenomena in quantummechanics question even these simple postulates
[14:05] hope63 Shepherd: lol.. ok.. you win herman..
[14:05] skep Book: yes they do
[14:06] Osrum Sands: Folks - for me i find it interesting that we so quickly discount so many of the great minds of history when they speak of something they called God
[14:06] Riven Flare: the point is we are to stay away from religon here
[14:06] Osrum Sands: i wonder if our names will be remembered and our thougths discussed in a 100 years ?
[14:06] Gemma Cleanslate: we are not discounting them OS
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: but the discussion is the historical background
[14:07] Osrum Sands: God and religion are different things
[14:07] Riven Flare: want to debate religon for an hour talk to me after class and I will debate it with you
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: of these philosophers
[14:07] Osrum Sands: agree
[14:07] Herman Bergson: stop that Osrum..:-)
[14:07] Osrum Sands: what
[14:07] Herman Bergson: what I show..and I follow just the history of mind...
[14:08] Osrum Sands: yes
[14:08] Osrum Sands: as I said this is a class and not a discussion group
[14:08] Osrum Sands: but discussion take place
[14:08] Herman Bergson: is that in the epistemological field lesser and lesser philosophers use a concept of (a) god to explain the justification of knowledge and certainty
[14:09] Osrum Sands: and so they should
[14:09] Osrum Sands: I have some thougths on that
[14:09] Osrum Sands: but thats for another time
[14:09] Herman Bergson: that you should not say....that is not a philosophical statement
[14:09] Gemma Cleanslate: well time to go i think thanks Herman see you all Tuesday .
[14:09] Herman Bergson: that is my point....
[14:10] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gemma
[14:10] Laila Schuman: baiee Gemma
[14:10] Gemma Cleanslate: bye
[14:10] Emiliano Gudkov: thanks
[14:10] Emiliano Gudkov: bye
[14:10] skep Book: bye
[14:10] Gemma Cleanslate: thank you Herman
[14:10] Herman Bergson: yes are right....
[14:10] Riven Flare: bye
[14:10] hope63 Shepherd: bye gemma..
[14:10] Rodney Handrick: Bye Gemma...
[14:10] Herman Bergson: Thank you all for your attention and good discussion
[14:10] Cailleach Shan: Thanks Herman..
[14:10] AristotleVon Doobie: thank you Herman
[14:10] Rodney Handrick: Thanks Herman...
[14:11] Rasana Destiny: thank you
[14:11] Riven Flare: depends on what you do and who remebers you
[14:12] Laila Schuman: baiee guys
[14:12] Osrum Sands: CU
[14:12] Cailleach Shan: Thanks everyone.... Bye Herman.
[14:12] hope63 Shepherd: thank you for your patience herman :)
[14:12] hope63 Shepherd: and your course of course:)
[14:12] Osrum Sands: deffinately
[14:13] Riven Flare: sorry it got offtrack Herman
[14:14] Herman Bergson: my pleasure always..:-)
[14:14] Osrum Sands: Herman do you have a moment
[14:14] Osrum Sands: for some discussion
[14:14] Herman Bergson: sure Osrum
[14:14] Osrum Sands: please
[14:15] hope63 Shepherd: mind if i stay for amoment?
[14:15] Herman Bergson: is ok....
[14:15] Herman Bergson: give me a moment to kill all these IMs
[14:16] Osrum Sands: I find id unreasonable and illogical that you appear to discount the possibility of some universal power or force or intellegence which we might call God
[14:16] Osrum Sands: given you statement about all knowledge coming down to postulates
[14:16] skep Book: ???????
[14:16] skep Book: sorry
[14:16] Osrum Sands: Im not talking about religion as man has developed that institution
[14:17] Ishtar Ihnen is Offline
[14:17] Herman Bergson: It is not about my personal is about philosophical method
[14:17] Riven Flare: Osrum.. what is YOUR veiwpoint on religion b4 this gets involved?
[14:17] Osrum Sands: yes but you beleifs do come through in you input
[14:17] hope63 Shepherd: os.. if we start taking away intelligence.. i think we all must agree to a universal power..or.. and that is may be new.. powers?
[14:18] Herman Bergson: sure.....I make choices...
[14:18] Rasana Destiny: see you tues
[14:18] AristotleVon Doobie: Godd bye all.
[14:18] Herman Bergson: Bye Aristotle
[14:18] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman the sign is impressive
[14:18] herman Bergson smiles.....
[14:19] Herman Bergson: Was fun to deserve it :-)

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-01-20 19:10:44

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