Oeuvres Philosophiques


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Item#: 126278 price:$4,000.00

Oeuvres Philosophiques
Oeuvres Philosophiques


LEIBNITZ, G.W. Oeuvres Philosophiques. Amsterdam et Leipzig: Jean Schreuder, 1765 [Hannover: Jerome Michel Pockwitz, 1764, at rear]. Quarto, full period-style full mottled calf-gilt, red morocco spine label, raised bands. $4000.

First edition of the first collected edition of Leibnitz's philosophical works in French and Latin, including the first printing of one of Leibnitz's most important philosophical works, his "Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain" (New Essays on Human Understanding), in which he attacks and refutes Locke and his "Essay on Human Understanding" chapter by chapter.

By far the most substantial portion of this collection of the great mathematician and logician's philosophical works is his "Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entendement Humain," which takes up 496 of the volume's 540 pages. "Nouveaux Essais" refutes Locke's "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" chapter by chapter. As explained by the editor Rudolph Eric Raspe in his preface, Leibnitz chose not to publish this during his lifetime, ostensibly because Locke had died in 1704 (the same year that Leibnitz wrote the work) and Leibnitz claimed to be against publishing refutations of dead authors. However, Raspe points out that it is also quite likely that Leibnitz simply did not wish to get involved in any more controversies with the British scientific and mathematic communities, as he was already engaged in two very substantial disputes: the first involving the invention of the differential calculus, and the second involving Clarke on liberty and important metaphysical questions.

By holding off on publication—this 1765 edition is the first publication—Leibnitz's work may have found a more receptive audience, as Locke's empiricism began to fall out of favor. Following the publication of this volume, Leibnitz's rationalist approach became hugely influential and played a role in the development of Kant's transcendental philosophy. (As a side note, the editor, Eric Raspe, is best remembered as the creator of Baron Munchausen, in his 1785 book of the same name.). Text in French and Latin. The 1740 German edition Kleinere Philosophische Schriften did not contain the "Nouveaux Essais" and only consisted of Liebnitz's "Smaller Philosophical Works." The other writings included in the present volume are "Examen du sentiment du P. Malebranche que nous voyons tout en Dieu," "Dialogus de connexione inter res & verba," "Difficultates quaedam Logicae," "Discours touchant la methode de la certitude & de l'art d'inventer," "Historia et commendatio charactericae universalis quae simul sit ars inveniendi." Engraved vignette title page printed in red and black. Bound with half title. Brunet III:950. Graesse IV:152.

Light foxing, most notably in the first few signatures. An excellent copy of this scarce and important work.

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