Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

The Art of Controversies

  • Marcelo Dascal

Part of the The New Synthese Historical Library book series (SYNL, volume 60)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-LXXII
  2. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 1-6
  3. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 7-24
  4. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 25-28
  5. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 29-34
  6. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 35-40
  7. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 41-48
  8. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 49-54
  9. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 55-64
  10. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 65-74
  11. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 77-92
  12. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 93-104
  13. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 105-118
  14. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 119-128
  15. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 129-142
  16. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 143-162
  17. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 163-166
  18. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 167-200
  19. Marcelo Dascal
    Pages 201-208

About this book


Leibniz is known to the wide public and to many scholars mainly as a logician and mathematician, and as the creator of a fascinating but strange metaphysical system. In these, as well as in other fields, his remarkable innovations were achieved through painstaking efforts to establish a fruitful critical dialogue with the leading contemporary thinkers. He was no less important, however, in his practical endeavor to bring opponents to negotiate reasonable solutions to key political and religious conflicts of his time.

Both his theoretical and practical activities were informed by a philosophical mind that sought in all circumstances the most general underlying principles; by a juridical mind that sought to bring order and structure to human interaction, without sacrificing the necessary flexibility; by an argumentative mind that knows that persuading is often more important than proving; by a scientific mind eager to organize past and present knowledge so as not to miss any bit of information capable of pointing the way to new discoveries; by a theologian mind that refuses to admit that religious conflicts between true believers are irresolvable; and by an ethical and political mind whose major concern is to direct all our intellectual work towards improving the well-being of humankind.

All these perspectives (and more) are united in what this book identifies as his Art of Controversies, which might also be called an Art of Dialectical Cooperation. For it is based on the idea that knowledge production, acquisition, and evolution is not a one-man affair, but the result of the cooperation of many, coming from different perspectives; whence it follows that not only tolerance vis-à-vis the other, but also valuing the other’s contribution and integrating it – whether it stems from another age, continent, culture, discipline, religion, or individual – is indispensable. This dialectical Leibniz that emerges from the selected texts here translated, commented, and interpreted in the light of their context, isn’t for sure the familiar one. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, it is capable of shedding light on that old, familiar, yet incomplete image of Leibniz, and of adding thus a further reason for cherishing and cultivating the heritage of a truly great man.


15th century Argumentation Art of Controversies Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz History of Philosophy Leibniz Rationality Religion interpret knowledge logic skepticism theology

Editors and affiliations

  • Marcelo Dascal
    • 1
  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4020-8190-3
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4020-5228-6
  • About this book