Oeuvres philosophiques Latines & Françoises... Tirées des ses manuscrits qui se conservent dans la Bibliotheque Royale a Hanovre, et publieées par Mr. Rud. Eric Raspe. Ave une préface de Mr. Kaestner...
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von.

Amsterdam: Chez Jean Schreuder , 1765. First collected edition of Leibniz’s works and first edition of his “Nouveaux essais sur l’entendement humain” (pp. [1]-496). Title printed in red and black with engraved vignette by O. de Fries. Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. Occasional light foxing, marginal dampstain to final two leaves, short tear in the upper margin of the final leaf. Small circular ownership stamp on title. A superb copy. Contemporary quarter sheep over sprinkled boards with vellum tips. Spine ruled in gilt in compartments with two olive morocco gilt labels. Edges stained red. Quarto. [4], xvi, [4], 540, [16] (Item ID: 16074)


“Leibniz was moved by the publication in 1704 of Coste’s French translation of Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding to lay his thoughts in detail alongside those of Locke. Leibniz’ New Essays (Nouveaux Essais sur l’entendement humain) was not a systematic criticism of Locke’s philosophy. It contains occasional discussions of Locke’s views, but in general Leibniz expounded his own views, without giving reasons, on the points raised by Locke. The book is thus more valuable as a collection of passages relating to aspects of Leibniz’ system than a thoroughgoing criticism of Locke. Leibniz had intended to publish the New Essays and get Locke’s views on them, but Locke died in 1704, the year in which Leibniz wrote them, and he gave up the idea. They were first published at Amsterdam and Leipzig in 1765” (The Encyclopedia of Philosophy IV, p. 431). “Leibniz’ Nouveaux essais sur l’entendement humain, completed in 1705 but not published during his lifetime, presented a detailed criticism of Locke’s position. By adding nisi ipse intellectus to the famous maxim, Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius fuerit in sensu (wrongly attributed to Aristotle by Duns Scotus, Leibniz neatly reversed the application of the principle by Locke. According to Leibniz, the mind originally contains the principles of the various ideas which the senses on occasion call forth” (D.S.B. VIII, p. 151).

The editor, Raspe, was at this time secretary at the University Library of Göttingen and was the author of The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen. Kaestner, professor of mathematics contributes a short but valuable introduction highlighting the mathematical and scientific contributions contained in these little known writings. Attig 482n. Brunet III, 950. Graesse IV, 152. Quérard V, 119. Yolton C1765-4.

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