Gottfried Leibniz

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Full name Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Born 1 July 1646
Leipzig, Electorate of Saxony
Died 14 November 1716(1716-11-14) (aged 70)
Hanover, Electorate of Hanover
Era 17th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
Main interests Metaphysics, Mathematics, Theodicy
Notable ideas Infinitesimal calculus, Monadology, Theodicy, Optimism
Leibniz formula for pi
Leibniz harmonic triangle
Leibniz formula for determinants
Leibniz integral rule
Principle of sufficient reason
Diagrammatic reasoning
Notation for differentiation
Proof of Fermat's little theorem
Kinetic energy
Entscheidungsproblem
Signature

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (also Leibnitz or von Leibniz)[1] (July 1 (June 21 OS) 1646November 14 1716) was a German intellectual who wrote mostly in French and Latin. He played an important role in both philosophy and mathematics. He invented calculus independently of Newton, and his notation is the one in general use since then. He also invented the binary system, foundation of virtually all modern computers.

He was taught law and philosophy. He served as factotum to two major German noble houses (one becoming the British royal family while he served it). Leibniz played a major role in the European politics and diplomacy of his day.

In philosophy, he is most remembered for optimism. His conclusion is that our universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one God could have made. He was one of the great 17th century rationalists. Many people see René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza as the other two. His philosophy also both looks back to the Scholastic tradition and anticipates modern logic and analysis.

Leibniz also made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in biology, medicine, geology, probability theory, psychology, and information science. He also wrote on politics, law, ethics, theology, history, and philology. Sometimes he even wrote in verse. His contributions to this vast array of subjects are scattered in journals and in tens of thousands of letters and unpublished manuscripts.As of 2006, there is no complete edition of Leibniz's writings, and a complete account of his accomplishments is not yet possible.

References[change | change source]

  1. IPA pronunciation: /'laɪpnɪts/.