Monday, February 22, 2016

Leibniz and China

"Like Spinoza and Locke, Leibniz advocates tolerance of diverse views, but, unlike them, he establishes an imperative to learn from diversity, an impera- tive he follows himself. On December 2, 1697, Leibniz wrote to the Jesuit Antoine Verjus that he would like more information regarding China:

where I take such a part, because I judge that this mission is the greatest affair of our time, as much for the glory of God and the propagation of the Christian religion as for the general good of men and the growth of the arts and sciences, among us as well as among the Chinese. For this is a commerce of light, which could give to us at once their work of thousands of years and render ours to them, and to double so to speak our true wealth for one and the other. This is something greater than one thinks.

Leibniz is the only prominent modern philosopher to take a serious interest in Europe’s contact with other cultures."

"Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light" by Franklin Perkins