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Pagans and PhilosophersThe Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz$
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John Marenbon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142555

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142555.001.0001

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Leibniz and China

Leibniz and China

(p.301) Epilogue Leibniz and China
Pagans and Philosophers

John Marenbon

Princeton University Press

This epilogue discusses Leibniz's particular interest in China. Like his predecessors, Leibniz's preferred virtuous pagans were also ancient philosophers, but he was partial to those of China. Leibniz had showed an interest in China from the mid-1670s and, from 1689, roughly in the middle of his career, he began to conduct a correspondence with a number of the Jesuit missionaries to China, seeking information about Chinese writings, thought and language, as well as current news about political and religious developments. His intense interest in China and his voracious reading of all he could find out about it grew from these correspondences, and his fullest thoughts about Chinese religion are expressed in one of his last works, a letter On the Natural Theology of the Chinese, written in 1716 — the year of his death.

Keywords:   Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz, China, Chinese religion, virtuous pagans, Chinese philosophers

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