Ideas from 'Letters to Queen Charlotte' by Gottfried Leibniz [1702], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Philosophical Essays' by Leibniz,Gottfried (ed/tr Arlew,R /Garber,D) [Hackett 1989,0-87220-062-0]].

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9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / b. Essence not necessities
A necessary feature (such as air for humans) is not therefore part of the essence
                        Full Idea: That which is necessary for something does not constitute its essence. Air is necessary for our life, but our life is something other than air.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (Letters to Queen Charlotte [1702], 1702)
                        A reaction: Bravo. Why can't modern philosophers hang on to this distinction? They seem to think that because they don't believe in traditional essences they can purloin the word for something else. Same with the word 'abstraction'.
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 1. A Priori Necessary
Intelligible truth is independent of any external things or experiences
                        Full Idea: Intelligible truth is independent of the truth or of the existence outside us of sensible and material things. ....It is generally true that we only know necessary truths by the natural light [of reason]
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (Letters to Queen Charlotte [1702], 1702)
                        A reaction: A nice quotation summarising a view for which Leibniz is famous - that there is a tight correlation between necessary truths and our a priori knowledge of them. The obvious challenge comes from Kripke's claim that scientists can discover necessities.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
We know objects by perceptions, but their qualities don't reveal what it is we are perceiving
                        Full Idea: We use the external senses ...to make us know their particular objects ...but they do not make us know what those sensible qualities are ...whether red is small revolving globules causing light, heat a whirling of dust, or sound is waves in air.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (Letters to Queen Charlotte [1702], 1702)
                        A reaction: These seems to be exactly the concept of secondary qualities which Locke was promoting. They are unreliable information about the objects we perceive. Primary qualities are reliable information. I like that distinction.
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
There is nothing in the understanding but experiences, plus the understanding itself, and the understander
                        Full Idea: It can be said that there is nothing in the understanding which does not come from the senses, except the understanding itself, or that which understands.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (Letters to Queen Charlotte [1702], 1702)
                        A reaction: Given that Leibniz is labelled as a 'rationalist', this is awfully close to empiricism. Not Locke's 'tabula rasa' perhaps, but Hume's experiences plus associations. Leibniz has a much loftier notion of understanding and reason than Hume does.