chapter  16
15 Pages

Leibniz’s Reputation in the Eighteenth Century: Kant and Herder


Until the publication of multi-volume editions of his work by Rudolf Raspé in 1765 and Louis Dutens in 1768, Leibniz was remembered in Europe as a mathematician, a physicist, a founder of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, a diplomat and a historian. He was chiefl y remembered in England as the opponent of Newton, as the wronging party in the vicious priority dispute over the invention of the calculus. In France he did not fare much better among philosophers, thanks to the anti-metaphysical scorn of Condillac and Voltaire. His reputation was based on a small sample of his writings, chiefl y on the popular Theodicy, which was printed in about fi fteen separate editions, the Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, his Protogaea and the essays on natural philosophy that he had published in the Acta Eruditorum. His quarrels with the Cartesians over forces and with the Newtonians over space and time were registered, but he was not regarded as a systematic metaphysician, certainly not as an idealist and theist-though Dutens’ motives in publishing his edition according to Albert Heinekamp were to wage war against Enlightenment scepticism.1