Religion, Society, and World Relations Max-Weber-Kolleg

G. W. Leibniz and Eastern Europe

Despite its high relevance for the formation of the early modern consciousness of Europe, the research topic "Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Eastern Europe" proves to be terra incognita in the otherwise already widely explored life and work of the German polymath and calls for fundamental critical discussion. In order to contribute to the revival of an early work that has so far only been marginally treated, I will, during my stay at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, prepare a manuscript for a monograph on the Leibniz tract Specimen Polonorum, written in the service of Count Palatine Philipp Wilhelm von Neuburg's candidacy for the Polish crown in 1669.

Duration
09/2019 - 08/2017

Project management

Prof. Dr. Gábor Gángó
Prof. Dr. Gábor Gángó
Fellow (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)

Despite its high relevance for the formation of the early modern consciousness of Europe, the research topic "Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Eastern Europe" proves to be terra incognita in the otherwise already widely explored life and work of the German polymath and calls for fundamental critical discussion. In order to contribute to the revival of an early work that has so far only been marginally treated, I will, during my stay at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, prepare a manuscript for a monograph on the Leibniz tract Specimen Polonorum, written in the service of Count Palatine Philipp Wilhelm von Neuburg's candidacy for the Polish crown in 1669. Thus my work contributes to the Research Centre for Early-Modern Natural Law of the Max-Weber-Kolleg. The previous obstacle for a more detailed examination of the Specimen Polonorum was that research was groping in the dark regarding the context. Therefore, I will combine the methodology of the history of ideas and philosophical-historical interpretation with basic research on sources. During my philological work I will access Polish archival sources as well as the library estate of Leibniz' mentor Johann Christian von Boineburg in the Erfurt University Library. The source work will enable a comprehensive contextual reconstruction of the origin of the Specimen Polonorum, which will also help us to better understand the philosophical and logical approaches of this important early work. For the context-bound work, the pamphlet polemics of the election campaign, especially the political journalism of Boineburg and his circle, should be considered first. First, I will not only examine Boineburg's Warsaw mission as an election envoy of the Count Palatine, but also look behind the scenes of Mainz's daily politics. The re-contextualization of the Leibniz pamphlet in the politics of Mainz allows us to see more clearly that, similar to other Leibniz texts of the years in Mainz that have been analyzed in far greater depth (from the "Sekuritätsgutachten" to the Consilium Aegyptiacum), the Polish electoral writing is also closely connected with the basic problem of the politics of the Elector of Mainz Johann Friedrich von Schönborn, i.e. with the French expansion on the Rhine. The peculiarity of the Polish project is that, because of the rapidly changing diplomatic constellations of the War of Devolution, Boineburg (and with him Leibniz) and the Elector of Mainz found themselves in opposite camps of the Polish election campaign. On the basis of the understanding of Leibniz's Specimen Polonorum gained in this way, I would like to draw a picture of the young Leibniz that is essentially politically (power-politically, religiously, culturally) centered: that of a Leibniz who thinks more pragmatically and situationally than ethically and state-metaphysically - but by no means only short-sightedly power-oriented - in terms of the state. It was originally intended to make politics in the Mainz period of Leibniz's life appear as a practice; a practice that in theory proved to be largely in need of justification or explanation.

History Politics

Research focus

Religion, Society, and World Relations