LEIBNIZ’S FINAL PHILOSOPHY
The Fifth Annual Conference of the Leibniz Society of North America
University of California, San Diego, June 15-17, 2011
Organized by Professor Donald Rutherford
In collaboration with Professor Thomas Leinkauf, Leibniz-Forschungsstelle, Münster
A large literature has arisen around the topic of the final form of Leibniz’s theoretical philosophy. Do his inquiries lead toward the theory of monads as a resolution of the metaphysical problems with which he had been occupied since the 1660s? Does Leibniz at the end of his career remain undecided between (or inconsistently committed to) two fundamentally opposed systems: the “idealism” of monads and the “realism” of living bodies? Or, alternatively, is the question of a “final system” the wrong one to pose about Leibniz’s philosophy? Should it perhaps be seen, rather, as an evolving engagement with a wide set of issues in natural philosophy, metaphysics, theology and moral philosophy, where there can be no assumption that Leibniz’s answers come together in a single, coherent system?
Answers to these interpretative questions have increased in sophistication as the full range of Leibniz’s writings have become available to the scholarly community. Only with the accelerated publication of the volumes of the Berlin Akademie edition since the 1990s, combined with the efforts of many scholars in Europe and North America, have we begun to approach an informed understanding of the textual basis on which such answers must be based. This work, however, remains incomplete. The challenge of synthesizing the huge collection of Leibniz’s writings (published and unpublished essays, drafts of essays, letters and drafts of letters to hundreds of correspondents) outstrips the capacity of any single researcher and demands cooperation on an international scale.
The goal of the Fifth Annual Conference of the Leibniz Society of North America is to survey the progress that has been made on both the interpretative and the textual fronts of Leibniz scholarship. The conference will bring together experts on the editing of Leibniz’s writings with leading contributors to the interpretative literature. Together, it is hoped these scholars will be able to map future directions for productive research and collaboration. In addition to invited talks, the conference will have room for a number of submitted papers. To this end, submissions are invited on the following topics:
• Philosophical issues that figure centrally in writings from the last decade and a half of Leibniz’s career
• The systematicity of Leibniz’s thought, and the degree to which ideals of systematicity are, or are not, realized within it
• The organization and representation of Leibniz’s corpus, and the grounds for distinguishing philosophical and extra-philososophical parts of it.
Submissions should take the form of abstracts of 800 words or less, and should be sent electronically to the conference organizer, Donald Rutherford (firstname.lastname@example.org), as .pdf documents. The deadline for the receipt of submissions is March 1, 2011. Details of the final program will be available later that month.