Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Leibniz was a scientist who worked within many different fields, including mathematics, physics, geology, history, logic, politics, metaphysics and religious psychology, and had a doctorate in law.
In his famous work ‘Dissertatio de arte combinatoria‘ (‘Dissertation on the Art of Combinations‘) from 1666, Leibniz founded symbolic logic. Later on, inspired by the works of Pascal, he developed the differential calculus which would change mathematics forever. In fact, calculus was invented by the physicist Sir Issac Newton around that same time, but independently. It was a big debate, who was to be contributed with its invention – Leibniz was though the first to publish his ideas, namely in 1684, three years before Newton.
Leibniz was very interested in logic and reasoning, and in the foundation for proper arguments. In his work ‘Monadology‘ (1714), he defines a set of core principles that all human reasoning is based on, among which the two most important ones are
- ‘the principle of contradiction‘: that a claim can’t be both true and false, and
- ‘the principle of sufficient reasoning‘: that there is no effect without a cause.
Nihil est sine ratione (nothing is without a reason)Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
- ‘Gottfried Leibniz’ (web page), Luke Mastin, Famous Scientists, 2018, www.famousscientists.org/gottfried-leibniz (accessed Jan. 14th, 2020)
- ‘Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’ (encyclopedia), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2013, Summer 2017 edition, edited by Edward N. Zalta, plato.stanford.edu/entries/leibniz (accessed Jan. 14th, 2020)
- ‘Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’ (painting), Christoph Bernhard Francke, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, photo by A. Wittmann, www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz (accessed Jan. 14th, 2020)