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The Most Important Philosopher You Know the Least About

Gottfried Leibniz, the last so-called "universal genius," was born July 1, 1646.

The intellectual domain of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz cannot be captured in a single adjective. For most of his life, he was a jurist, a courtier, a diplomat, and a librarian; he also made huge contributions to the study of logic, geometry, physics, botany, physiology, linguistics, and of course, the infinitesimal calculus. And yet, many of his ideas remain obscure to the modern reader. What in the world is a Monad? Why does Leibniz care so much about the so-called Principle of Sufficient Reason? And how could he claim that this is the Best of all Possible Worlds? John and Ken discuss the most important philosopher you know the least about with Daniel Garber from Princeton University, author of Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad. Sunday, June 26 at 11 am.

Devon Strolovitch studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before coming to KALW. He is the Senior Producer of Philosophy Talk, and since 2007 has hosted Fog City Blues, the weekly digest of Blues in the Bay Area and beyond.