New Essays On Human Understanding Pdf

History of Philosophy

texts online

Gottfried LEIBNIZ (1646-1716)

A. English editions of Leibniz's works

Discourse on Metaphysics, Correspondence with Arnauld, and Monadology
ed., tr., G.R. Montgomery (Chicago: Open Court, 1916)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Monadology and other writings
(incl: New system, On the ultimate origination of things, Principles of nature and grace)
ed., tr., Robert Latta (Oxford, 1898)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Philosophical Works (2nd ed.)
ed., tr., George Martin Duncan (New Haven: TM&T, 1908)
incl: Notes on Spinoza's Ethics,
  New system,
  On the ultimate origin of things,
  On nature itself,
  Refutation of Spinoza,
  Principles of nature and of grace,
  letters to Clarke,

New essays concerning human understanding
ed., tr., A.G. Langley (Chicago: Open Court, 1916)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence
ed., tr., Samuel Clarke (London, 1717)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

A Refutation of Spinoza by Leibniz
ed., Foucher de Careil; tr., O.F. Owen (Edinburgh, 1855)
[googlepages] [pdf]

The Early Mathematical Manuscripts of Leibniz
ed., tr., James Mark Child (Chicago: Open Court, 1920)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

B.Gerhardt editions

I. Philosophische Schriften (Weidmann; Berlin 1875-90)

Bd. I (Berlin, 1875) -- Briefwechsel: Thomasius, Spinoza, Molanus, Malebranche, Foucher
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. II (Berlin, 1879) -- Briefwechsel: von Hessen-Rheinfels & Arnauld, de Volder, des Bosses, Nicaise
[googlebooks] [pdf] (unavailable for download)

Bd. III (Berlin, 1887) -- Briefwechsel (various)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. IV (Berlin, 1880)
philosophische Abhandlungen (1663-1671), incl:
  Disputatio metaphysica de principio individui
  Dissertatio de arte combinatoria
  Confessio naturae contra Atheistas
  Defensio trinitatis
  Hypothesis physica nova
  Theoria motus abstractii
Gegen Descartes und den Cartesianismus
philosophische Abhandlungen (1684-1703), incl:
  Meditationes de cognitione, veritate, et ideis
  Discours de metaphysique
  System nouveau
  De ipsa natura
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. V (Berlin, 1882) -- Leibniz und Locke
Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entendement par l'Auteur de systeme de l'harmonie preestablie
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. VI (Berlin, 1885)
Essais de Theodicee
Causa dei
Philosophische Abhandlungen (1702-1716), incl:
  Lettres a Koenigin Sophie Charlotte
  Principes de la Nature et de la Grace, fondes en raison
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. VII (Berlin, 1890)
scientia generalis, characteristica;
philosophische Abhandlungen, incl:
  De synthesi et analysi universali seu Arte inveniendi et judicandi;
  De rerum originatione radicali
Ergaenzungen zu den Correspondenzen
[googlebooks] [pdf]

II. Mathematische Schriften (Berlin, von Asher und Comp.; Halle, von Schmidt)

Bde. I-II (Berlin, 1849) -- Briefwechsel: Oldenburg, Collins, Newton, Galloys, Vitale Giordano; Hugens, de l'Hopital
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. III (Halle, 1855) -- Briefwechsel: Jacob, Johann, und Nicolaus Bernoulli
Erste Abteilung
[googlebooks] [pdf]
Zweite Abteilung
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. IV (Halle, 1859) -- Briefwechsel: Wallis, Varignon, Guido Grandi, Zendrini, Hermann, und von Tschirnhaus
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. V (Halle, 1858) -- Abhandlungen I: de arte combinatoria, etc.
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. VI (Halle, 1860) -- Abhandlungen II: dynamica
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Bd. VII (Halle, 1863) -- Abhandlungen III: initia, mathesis universalis, arithmetica, algebraica, geometrica
[googlebooks] [pdf]

Der Briefwechsel von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz mit Mathematikern
ed., Gerhardt (Berlin, 1899)
[googlebooks] [pdf]

C. Couturat

Opuscules et fragments inédits de Leibniz
ed., Louis Couturat; Paris: F. Alcan, 1903
[googlebooks] [pdf]

La logique de Leibniz: d'après des documents inédits
Louis Couturat; Paris: F. Alcan, 1901
[googlebooks] [pdf]


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this page is maintained by Clinton Tolley
last updated: July 11th, 2008

New Essays on Human Understanding (French: Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain) is a chapter-by-chapter rebuttal by Gottfried Leibniz of John Locke's major work, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. It is one of only two full-length works by Leibniz (the other being the Theodicy). It was finished in 1704 but Locke's death was the cause alleged by Leibniz to withhold its publication. The book appeared some sixty years later.[1] Like many philosophical works of the time, it is written in dialogue form.


The two speakers in the book are Theophilus ("loving God" in Greek),[2] who represents the views of Leibniz, and Philalethes ("loving truth" in Greek),[3] who represents those of Locke. The famous rebuttal to the empiricist thesis about the provenance of ideas appears at the beginning of Book II: "Nothing is in the mind without being first in the senses, except for the mind itself".[4] All of Locke's major arguments against innate ideas are criticized at length by Leibniz, who defends an extreme view of innate cognition, according to which all thoughts and actions of the soul are innate.[5] In addition to his discussion of innate ideas, Leibniz offers penetrating critiques of Locke's views on personal identity, free will, mind-body dualism, language, necessary truth, and Locke's attempted proof of the existence of God.


  • New Essays on Human Understanding, 2nd ed. Translated and edited by Peter Remnant and Jonathan Bennett. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-521-57660-1.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Oeuvres philosophiques, latines et françoises, de feu Mr. de Leibnitz, tirées de ses manuscrits, qui se conservent dans la bibliothèque royale à Hanovre, et publiees par Rud. Eric Raspe, Amsterdam et Leipzig, 1765.
  2. ^"θεόφιλος". LSJ.
  3. ^"φιλαλήθης". LSJ.
  4. ^Book II, Ch. 1, §2: "Nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu excipe: nisi ipse intellectus".
  5. ^G. W. Leibniz, New Essays on Human Understanding. Translated and edited by Peter Remnant and Jonathan Bennett. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 74.


  • Leibniz, Akademie-Ausgabe (1999): Vol. VI, 6

External links[edit]


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