"Sed omnia praeclara tam difficilia quam rara sunt,." Spinoza's Ethics
Reviews of The Science of Right in Leibniz's Moral and Political Philosophy
“The book has three great merits: it deals with a part of the work of Leibniz yet undervalued by commentators (in particular the law and morality); it offers the reader translations of texts ... which are certainly already known but insufficiently explored ... and it offers a novel interpretation of the practical philosophy of Leibniz.” – Paul Rateau, Archives de Philosophie (Bloomsbury translation)
Click here for the full review (in French).
“This is a superb and lasting contribution to Leibniz scholarship. No other pioneering work of its kind exhaustively investigates how Leibniz's science of right (ius) lays a deontological foundation for his moral philosophy. […] This book should be immensely useful to anyone with serious interests in the history of modern moral philosophy, especially from Grotius to Kant and Hegel.” – Jeffrey Edwards, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Stony Brook University, USA
“Christopher Johns has produced a comprehensive and insightful account of Leibniz’s theory of right on the basis of a careful reading of the published sources.* All students of Leibniz’s moral, legal, and political philosophy will draw much profit from this informative work.” – Nicholas Rescher, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, USA.
*Note that the book focuses mostly on an unpublished (but translated here first) portion of Leibniz's New Method for Learning and Teaching Jurisprudence.
Click here for a full review by Donald Rutherford
For a criticism of my book, see "Leibniz and the Ground of Moral Normativity and Obligation," by Gregory Brown, in The Leibniz Review, Dec. 2016. If you have questions about this review, which I consider full of misunderstandings and errors, please write to me. My rebuttal is in the works.
Table of Contents of my book
1. The Science of Right: Its Method and Grounds in the Nova Methodus
2. Right, Justice, Love: A Response to Carneades in the Elementa Juris Naturalis
3. The Middle Period: Ius, Caritas, and the Codex Juris Gentium
4. Causes and Concepts in the Science of Right
5. Necessity, Obligation, and Freedom
6. Leibniz Among Grotius, Hobbes, and Locke
Appendix: Translation of Nova Methodus Discendae Docendaeque Jurisprudentiae
New volume just published 2019
Included: “The Impact of Leibniz’s Geometric Method for the Law,” by Christopher Johns. This volume tells the story of the legacy and impact of the great German polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). Leibniz made significant contributions to many areas, including philosophy, mathematics, political and social theory, theology, and various sciences. The essays in this volume explores the effects of Leibniz’s profound insights on subsequent generations of thinkers by tracing the ways in which his ideas have been defended and developed in the three centuries since his death. Each of the 11 essays is concerned with Leibniz’s legacy and impact in a particular area, and between them they show not just the depth of Leibniz’s talents but also the extent to which he shaped the various domains to which he contributed, and in some cases continues to shape them today. With essays written by experts such as Nicholas Jolley, Pauline Phemister, and Philip Beeley, this volume is essential reading not just for students of Leibniz but also for those who wish to understand the game-changing impact made by one of history’s true universal geniuses.
I am Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. I hold a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stony Brook University, and studied at Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany. My book, The Science of Right in Leibniz's Moral and Political Philosophy is published by Bloomsbury Academic (2013). I also have articles in The Review of Metaphysics, Studia Leibnitiana, and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. I also hold an M.A. in English and a B.A. in Linguistics, from Ohio State University.
Beirut (and Lebanon) is a fascinating place politically, geographically, and culturally. The philosophy department here is also really great. We are one of only a few universities in the Middle East offering an M.A. in philosophy. Recent seminars have been taught by Daniel Dennett (Philosophy of Biology and Evolution), and Dan Smith (Deleuze). Here are some of my recent and upcoming activities:
Please surf my site and feel free to contact me at chrisjohns23 [at] gmail.com or cj08 [at] aub.edu.lb