Leibniz: The Best Introductory Resources

Lennox Johnson Resources

This page features a collection of the best resources on Leibniz. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on Leibniz. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about him.

To get started, simply choose one of the links below:

If you want an academic overview of Leibniz:

“Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) was one of the great thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is known as the last “universal genius”. He made deep and important contributions to the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of religion, as well as mathematics, physics, geology, jurisprudence, and history. Even the eighteenth-century French atheist and materialist Denis Diderot, whose views were very often at odds with those of Leibniz, could not help being awed by his achievement, writing in his entry on Leibniz in the Encyclopedia, “Perhaps never has a man read as much, studied as much, meditated more, and written more than Leibniz… What he has composed on the world, God, nature, and the soul is of the most sublime eloquence. If his ideas had been expressed with the flair of Plato, the philosopher of Leipzig would cede nothing to the philosopher of Athens.” (Oeuvres complètes, vol. 7, p. 709) Indeed, Diderot was almost moved to despair in this piece: “When one compares the talents one has with those of a Leibniz, one is tempted to throw away one’s books and go die quietly in the dark of some forgotten corner.” (Oeuvres complètes, vol. 7, p. 678) More than a century later, Gottlob Frege, who fortunately did not cast his books away in despair, expressed similar admiration, declaring that “in his writings, Leibniz threw out such a profusion of seeds of ideas that in this respect he is virtually in a class of his own.” . . .”

If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:

If you’d prefer a video introduction:

If you prefer audio and podcasts:

While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on or by Leibniz.

The Daily Idea was created to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by collecting the best philosophy articles, videos, podcasts, and book recommendations from across the internet and organizing them into one place. You can find a collection of links to these resources and recommendations here or try taking the 52 Book Philosophy Challenge.