Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz: 17th Century Rationalism

Arguably, Baruch Spinoza, was the world’s most sensible mystic, who constructed the first thoroughly logical, consistent metaphysical system and made the first attempt at an objective, scientific study of human behavior. Spinoza is credited with carrying all arguments to their logical conclusions, even when those conclusions meant trouble! A pantheist and a pure determinist, who believed, as all good mystics do, in the oneness of the universe, in the supremacy of immutable natural law, in the necessity of learning to go with the flow. The other Rationalist, Gottfried Leibniz is considered by many to be one of the greatest logicians of all time, who invented infinitesimal calculus, and founded the first system of symbolic logic. A metaphysician in the tradition of Rene Descartes, he created the famous analogy of the Cartesian Clocks, which postulates that mind and body do not interact, but only seem to, because they are synchronized by God. Leibniz publicly espoused a philosophy that was pious, logical, and, one might say, somewhat simpleminded.

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