Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Writings
  • Publication Date: August 9, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781554810116 / 1554810116
  • 242 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Writings

  • Publication Date: August 9, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781554810116 / 1554810116
  • 242 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This is an edition of what are arguably Leibniz’s three most important presentations of his metaphysical system: the Discourse on Metaphysics, from 1686, and The Principles of Nature and of Grace and The Monadology, from 1714. Based on the Latta and Montgomery translations and revised by the editor, these texts set out the essentials of Leibniz’s mature metaphysical views. The edition includes an introductory essay and a set of appendices of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts, which help illuminate and contextualize Leibniz’s ideas. Among these are extensive passages from Leibniz’s Theodicy, many of which are cited in The Monadology.


“Peter Loptson’s edition of classical translations of the Discourse in Metaphysics and some related texts makes accessible in convenient form three of Leibniz’s most essential philosophical studies, as well as some instructive supplemental materials. It also provides an informative introduction that helpfully contextualizes the relevant historical and philosophical background. The book will be welcomed by all Anglophones who study and teach the thought of this great philosopher.” — Nicholas Rescher, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh

“This is an excellent edition for students first encountering Leibniz’s difficult philosophical system. In addition to the three classic expressions of Leibniz’s metaphysics and epistemology, the editor provides a fascinating selection of texts that situate these works in their historical context. And of especially great value is Loptson’s excellent introduction—which can be read with profit by beginning students and Leibniz scholars alike.” — Brandon C. Look, University of Kentucky

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts

Discourse on Metaphysics

The Principles of Nature and of Grace, Based on Reason

The Monadology

Appendix A: From Anne, Viscountess Conway, Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy (1690)

Appendix B: From Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s 1699 Letter to Antonio Magliabechi

Appendix C: From Pierre Bayle, Historical and Critical Dictionary (1695-1702)

Appendix D: From G.W. Leibniz, Theodicy (1710)

Appendix E: From David Hume, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748)

Appendix F: From Voltaire, Candide (1759)

Appendix G: From Thomas Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785)

Further Reading and Select Bibliography


Peter Loptson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph. He is the author of Reality: Fundamental Topics in Metaphysics (University of Ottawa Press) and Theories of Human Nature (Broadview Press).