of my site is given to extensive remarks on
Leibniz's "Nouveaux Essays" and
his "Monadology". The present file is a
brief introduction to the rest of these remarks.
remarks have been written in 1996 and are a
first version. The later parts I announce in
the first file are not available yet.
are two large index-files, "All Files" and "All Remarks".
The first provides links to the beginnings of
all chapters; the second links to the
beginnings of all section-heads in all the
chapters. This last file serves as a fairly
remarks have not been written originally in
html, and have to be reformatted some. This
applies especially to logical notation. In
December 2000 I've started to reformat all
files to the present format for my site. This
should make it easier to read the text.
this is a first version some references are
made and some notations used that the reader
will not be familiar with and will not be able
to find. In general, readers who know some
first-order logic and have tried typing this
on an ordinary key-board without benefit of
present-day html will be able to make sense of
most of it. Apart from that, I am using
notation from a system called LPA =
Logic of Propositional Attitudes, also
partially contained in my master's thesis.
These are mostly as follows
person a Asserts that proposition p is true
person a Believes that proposition p is true
person a tries to Cause that proposition p is
person a Desires that proposition p is true
person a Experiences that proposition p is
person a Imagines that proposition p is true
with obvious simpler readings. In any case,
for any simple propositional attitude X, it is
not necessarily true that (aXp ==> p), but
for several propositional attitudes, like
belief, it is assumed aXaXp ==> aXp, which
is in general taken in the sense "if a is
conscious that aXp then indeed aXp".
The reader should realize that in the present
remarks LPA is not explained but merely used
as a kind of helpful notation. (There will be
a file on LPA soon in the Logic section.)
general format of my remarks is very simple: I
am discussing with Leibniz and Locke; try to
make sense of their prose; and enter into the
points they make. The main reason to do so is
that Leibniz had an extra-ordinarily clear
mind, and did the same to Locke's "An Essay
on Human Understanding" - which is what
the Nouveaux Essays is: a compendium of
remarks to Locke's main work.
general format of my remarks differs somewhat
from the ordinary academic format in several
ways. Notably, I have not found it necessary
to indulge in the ordinary academic pedantries
- and neither did Locke nor Leibniz.
for me Leibniz and Locke were real
philosophers and real persons in a sense
modern academics usually are neither, for
these tend to be role-players who make an
academic career out of pedantic comments on
real philosophers, usually only for the
benefit of their own students and a few of
their academic contemporaries in philosophical
posts at universities, but wholly unread (and
if read hardly understood) by nearly all other
contemporaries, and not at all by anyone else.
(And indeed, with the possible exception of Bertrand
Russell, I would not know of anyone
working in academic philosophy in the 20th
Century who is personally and intellectually
comparable - as possibly in the same class of
ability - as Leibniz and Locke.)
reader may rest assured I wrote my remarks
against the background of more than 30 years
of reading all manner of things related to
philosophy, logic and science. If I deviate
from others working in philosophy or writing
philosophy, it is not because I don't know
what my contemporaries are doing in
philosophy: I do know, and - with a few
exceptions, mostly of people who claim to be
mathematicians or logicians rather than
philosophers - usually what they do does not
strike me as philosophy, but at best as a sort
of academically pedantic work in the history
reason to take up Leibniz in this way (and
Russell and Descartes and others on other
parts of my site) is that his reasoning and
writing is better than most of what has been
on offer by later philosophers, while most of
it is not really outdated or done better by
more recent philosophers.
versions of my remarks, and the promised part
II are in preparation.
of June 2000:
The complete files have been on line for 9
months. Those who want them can mail me ("email@example.com").
For the moment only the introductory files and
those of the first chapter are on line.
of December 2000:
I am reformatting
the complete text and putting it on line
again. The reason to do so is that there is a
lot of real philosophy in my remarks, while I
have decided to try to get a Ph.D. in another
who use my remarks and ideas without credit
must realize I do intend to see a version of
my remarks published on paper, and the present
set of remarks is known to be mine by others.
Finally, while much that I do have to say in my
remarks is of some importance to all men and women
who think seriously about philosophical questions,
and while I do write a readable and clear English,
it should be stated clearly that even so my remarks
will be readable and of interest only to the best
minds. In part, this is due to my subject and the
text I comment, and in any case - even if your mind
is as excellent as your willingness to put it to
serious work - it is highly probable that quite
often I have taken knowledge for granted that
most people who have not made a serious study of
philosophy don't have.
This is in particular
true for the knowledge I presuppose about logic
and about the history of western philosophy.
I wish you
pleasurable and pleasant reading!
2nd issue: March 2004:
Leibniz-files have been almost eight years on line
at present, and in March 2004 I have read them
through and made a number of usually small but quite
numerous textual improvements:
some broken links
quite a number of key-words bold
the quotations of Leibniz in my text blue
a number of qualifying or explanatory remarks
a few sentences or parts thereof.
The end of
most changes was to make the text - originally best
understood as notes for my own benefit - more
readable to others, which seems a useful
thing to do since the text has been read and liked
by a number of people.
the above changes:
them as improvements or I would not have made them.
However, apart from a few small corrections (mostly
stylistical) I have not added new material (which I
do have, e.g. on free will) and left the text mostly
as it was and has been since 1996, apart from
several reformattings that followed the new looks I
have introduced over the years for my site.
It is true
that some people don't like to see many or any bold
term, but since I do like them (ever since reading
books by Hermann Weyl, who also put key-words in
bold) and since I believe it helps stressing what
the writer had in mind and considers key terms, I
thought it useful to add them.
I intended my comments to be a first part
that was to be followed by a sequel in
which I would systematize and somewhat extend and
rework my comments in a more systematic fashion.
is still "in the works", though a part of it has
been done. The main reason it isn't ready is that I
have now for over 25 years a rather invalidating
disease, that makes me feel tired nearly always and
saddles me with muscular pain most of the time.
All you or
I can do about this is hope for the best: If I can
find the energy, I will try to finish and publish
the planned sequel.
as regards "2nd issue":
I never as
much as printed out a complete version of my
comments on the Nouveaux Essays, and indeed rarely
print what I can read on the screen. If the first
version - that has been on line with the same text
for nearly eight years now - had been a paper book,
the present version, if also published on paper,
would have been a 2nd printing. Since
webpublishing is not printing but is publishing, I
speak of a 2nd issue - which is like the
first, but with a number of corrections.
perhaps I should here reiterate what I've said at
several parts of my - extensive - site: My own
texts have my own copyright. You may read
them and download them, but (without my prior
written permission) you may not print them, you may
not quote them without attributing them, you may not
multiply them, and you may not pretend they are