The main focus of the lectures will be an introduction to, and a discussion of, Leibniz’s projects of reducing logic to a kind of mathematical calculus. In particular, we will concentrate on the essay entitled Generales Inquisitiones de analysi notionum et veritatum [General Inquiries about the Analysis of Notions and of Truths].
Leibniz wrote the General Inquiries in 1686, the same year in which he started his correspondence with Arnauld and composed the Discourse on Metaphysics. The General Inquiries is the largest and most interesting essay on logic written by Leibniz and it clearly shows how deeply connected are logic and metaphysics in Leibniz's philosophy.
The General Inquiries will be employed to introduce some important logical tools, as Boolean algebras and the so-called ‘possible world-semantics’, which constitute central issues in contemporary logic. Moreover, Leibniz’s text will give an opportunity to raise philosophical problems concerning the nature of negation, the difference between intension and extension and between analyticity on one hand and necessity and contingency on the other.
The lectures don’t presuppose any previous acquaintance with logic.