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On the Ultimate Origination of Things

Leibniz's "On the Ultimate Origination of Things" is one of his best-known short essays; it has been translated and anthologized many times. (link) Here Leibniz develops one classical version of the cosmological argument for God's reality, and reflects at length on the implications of divine existence for human happiness and discovery.

"Many substances have already attained great perfection. However, because of the infinite divisibility of the continuum, there are always parts asleep in the abyss of things, yet to be roused and yet to be advanced...Thus, progress never comes to an end."

We will read through the essay live, broken up by free conversation on the questions it opens—a format borrowed from the Wittgenstein and Heidegger workshops.

OMNIBUS EX NIHILO DUCENDIS SUFFICIT UNUM.




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  • K. Scot S.

    ..thanks kindly; I work 'til then. Best wishes.

    January 2, 2014

  • K. Scot S.

    ...shucklez- 'have to work late.

    January 2, 2014

    • Adam

      Feel free to come late. We'll be there until around 9.

      January 2, 2014

  • Three S.

    I'm very sorry but I won't make it to this tonight

    January 2, 2014

  • Rick O.

    Can I ask a Spinoza question? (apparently the answer is yes)

    I enjoyed the essay - a lot. The first part I thought "hey, seems very similar to Spinoza." - Don't mean that in a critical way, just my way of trying to understand the text. Heck - nice when philosophers agree with each other for a change.

    Then, the 4th par from the end, he mentions 'people of poor judgment.' My footnote mentions the appendix of Spinoza. The Bennett link that Brian posted has the comment '-like Spinoza-' entered in the text.

    But in reading Spinoza's appendix, I think the proper interpretation would be 'like Spinoza points out.'

    Are the two in sync on this point, or different?

    January 2, 2014

    • Erik C.

      I think Leibniz follows Spinoza (and one could simply say Descartes) in a number of ways. I think it's interesting to see where Leibniz breaks with Spinoza (when he does). A lot of these breaks have led to me favoring Leibniz over other 'Rationalists'­.

      1 · January 2, 2014

    • Brian

      What is an example of what you prefer?

      January 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Here's a direct link to a copy of the text. http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdfs/leibniz1697b.pdf

    December 24, 2013

    • Thrashionalist

      I believe that this text, like others on Bennett's website, has been "translated" into a deliberately simplified idiom. This will probably help intelligibility for present-day readers, though it may also be confusing if used as a reference in the meetup.

      December 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ah, ok. Thanks for the pointer. I'll probably find the simplified version quite helpful. :) but I'll seek out the real deal too.

      December 24, 2013

  • Rick O.

    Glad to see more Leibniz.

    1 · December 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      It will be the best of all possible Meetups.

      2 · December 23, 2013

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