Volume 17, December 2007
Justin E. H. Smith
The Body-Machine in Leibniz’s Early Physiological and Medical Writings
A Selection of Texts with Commentary
Other than the historical writings, the edition of which has yet to begin, Series VIII of the Academy Edition of Leibniz’s writings, presenting his “natural-scientific, medical, and technical” contributions, has been, since the project began in 1923, consistently deemed to be of low priority, and it is only very recently that the project has got fully underway. Coming, as it does, nearer to the end of the edition of the complete works, Series VIII has the advantage of accumulating some of the ‘run-off’ of the philosophical writings, that is, texts of philosophical import that for whatever reason were not initially deemed sufficiently philosophical to be included in Series II or VI. Currently in preparation are the writings on chemistry, hydrology, and other natural sciences. The medical and ‘biological’ manuscripts, identified as ‘LH III’, will be edited likely some years from now.2 On our reading of these manuscripts, all or most are of at least some interest to the scholar of Leibniz’s philosophy.