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06/02/2015

By Individual Philosopher > Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

By Individual Philosopher

 

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (also Leibnitz or von Leibniz) (1646 - 1716) was a German philosopher, mathematician, scientist and polymath of the Age of Reason.

As a philosopher, he was, along with René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, a major figure in the Continental Rationalism movement (the main 17th Century opposition to the British Empiricist school of thought of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume). He devised his rather eccentric metaphysical theory of monads operating in a pre-established divine harmony in order to overcome what he saw as some of the drawbacks of the theories of Descartes and Spinoza. He remained a devout Christian throughout his life and his formulation of the Problem of Evil in a world created by a good God was an influential one.

His contributions to Logic were perhaps the most important between Aristotle and the developments in modern formal Logic of the mid-19th Century, and to some extent he anticipated modern Symbolic Logic.

He is equally important in the history of mathematics, as the inventor of calculus (independently of Sir Isaac Newton), and as the discoverer of the binary system (the foundation of virtually all modern computer architectures). He also made major contributions to physics, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in other sciences biology, medicine, geology, probability theory, psychology, linguistics and information science, as well as writing on politics, law, ethics, theology, history and philology.

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