Essay on Metaphysics and Leibniz

Submitted By zerocs93
Words: 801
Pages: 4

Gottfried Leibniz was born in 1646, the son of Friedrich Leibniz, a professor of moral philosophy at Leipzig. His father died when Leibniz was only six years old, and he was brought up by his mother (who was his father's third wife). His early years were informed by the moral and religious values of his mother that would play a significant role in his life and philosophy. He entered the Nicolai School in Leipzig at the age of seven, where he was taught Latin, though he advanced his own studies in the field, including some Greek, and becoming proficient by the age of 12. His penchant for teaching himself from his father's library led to studies in theology and metaphysics, embellishing his formal schooling in the logical systems of Aristotle that he was interested in improving. Due to his own scholastic drive, he entered the University of Leipzig at the age of fourteen in 1661. He studied philosophy, mathematics, rhetoric, Latin, Greek and Hebrew and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1663 with a thesis De Principio Individui in which he introduced his notion of "monad". He spent the following summer in Jena, where he met Erhard Weigel, a philosopher and mathematician who believed that the number was the fundamental concept of the universe. By October 1663 Leibniz was awarded his Master's Degree in philosophy for a dissertation that combined aspects of philosophy and law, studying relations in these subjects with mathematical ideas that he had learnt from Weigel. Shortly after Leibniz presented his dissertation, his mother died. Leibniz's contributions to philosophy, mathematics, and most of the other areas in which he worked are all the more remarkable because they were made in his spare time, as it were. By profession he was a lawyer. During most of his life he earned his living by serving as a legal counselor and general factotum to a succession of princes; even the greater part of his voluminous historical research was occasioned and guided by his employers' desire to establish lines of inheritance to wealth or title. Despite such duties, and in addition to his studies in philosophy and mathematics, he managed to make significant contributions in the fields of theology, jurisprudence, political and economic history, philology, politics, technology, and architecture; he was also knowledgeable in physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, archaeology, linguistics, and literature.
The philosophical works for which Leibniz has chiefly been known were composed in the years between 1690 and 1716. Unfortunately, he never wrote out a full and systematic account of his views. Indeed, the one and only large philosophical work that he published during his lifetime was the Theodicy, in which, according to its subtitle, he proposed to explain and presumably to reconcile the goodness of God, the freedom of man, and the origin of evil. Leibniz distinguishes three types of goodness and evil: metaphysical, moral, and physical.
Metaphysical evil is mere imperfection, physical evil is identified with suffering, and moral evil is sin. The existence of metaphysical evil is a consequence of the previously mentioned incompossibility of certain…