I read at many places that Leibniz made a lot of contributions to biology, anatomy, medicine, paleontology and other related life sciences, but I couldn't find concrete contributions of him to these fields. I'm not looking for philosophical remarks that have far reaching meaning (for example, his distinction between organic bodies and "artificial" machines) but rather for more practical contributions. I'm far from being an expert to Leibniz's writings and that is why i'm asking this question. I'm very curious to discover Leibniz's wisdom so if someone has references, please write them down.


1 Answer 1



Looking at his career as a whole, we may say that Leibniz’s biological interests lie at the center of at least three core issues in his philosophy:

  1. The problem of the structure and motion of the physical world, both of living entities as normally understood as well as of apparently lifeless things.

  2. The problem of coming into being, or generation.

  3. Species.

Of course, no "practical" contribution.

See also Leibniz's contribution to paleontology, with his principal work on this subject, Protogaea, unpublished in his lifetime.

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, as is always the case with google books, i'm unable to read continuosly at the book. I have to ask you if you think it's a good book, because if it's a good book i'll buy it. $\endgroup$
    – user2554
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ @user2554 - you can browse the ToC: of course, is not concerned with modern scientific biology, but with "life science" in the time of Descrtes and Leibniz, when Aristotelian "natural science" was still the paradigm outside the newly-born mechanics. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ What is ToC? if you know a way to read the whole book than explain it to me. As for my question, perhaps i should focus it: are there any anticipations by leibniz of modern concepts? for example, i'm pretty sure that in some of his writings leibniz anticipated the discovery of the DNA - when he concludes in his writings that each tiny part of an organic body contains the information about the whole body, he actually reasons from first principles a conclusion about the way organic bodies are organized, and in this case reasons that the hereditary material is present in each cell of the body. $\endgroup$
    – user2554
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @user2554 - Table of Contents. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ Mauro ALLEGRANZA - I have to ask you another question. Can you recommend me on a good biography of leibniz? i dont have any english biography of him. I'm less interested at his philosophical ideas but more at his mathematical, scientific and technological contributions. From a brief survey of the literature i was most impressed of the book : The cambridge companion to leibniz. But do you know a better book? $\endgroup$
    – user2554
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 18:19

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