Tenth Annual Conference of the
Leibniz Society of North America

The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence

4 - 6 November 2016
University of Houston
Houston, TX

Organized by Gregory Brown





The 10th annual conference of the Leibniz Society of North America will be held on November 4-6 at the University of Houston in Houston, TX.  This year marks the 300th anniversary of Leibniz’s death, which occurred on 14 November 1716.   During the last year of his life, Leibniz was engaged in his famous correspondence with Samuel Clarke.  Clarke had become the front man for the Newtonian cause after Leibniz’s erstwhile friend and follower in Hanover, the newly crowned Princess of Wales, Caroline of Ansbach, showed him a letter she had received from Leibniz in mid-November 1715, a letter in which Leibniz attacked English philosophy in general, and Newtonian philosophy in particular, for contributing to the decline of natural religion in England.  When Caroline transmitted Clarke’s first response to Leibniz in her letter of 6 December 1715, the year-long debate, ending only with Leibniz’s death, was officially joined.  It ranged over a myriad of issues, among others, the nature of space and time, God and God’s activity in the world and God’s relation to space, miracles, gravity and action at a distance, force, atomism and the possibility of a void, the principle of sufficient reason, the principle of the identity of indiscernibles.  Many of these issues reflected methodological differences between Leibniz and the Newtonians in their approaches to natural philosophy; but in an effort to appeal to Caroline’s religious sensibilities, Leibniz strove to keep the debate focused on what he saw as the corrosive effects of Newtonian philosophy on natural religion and its tendency to detract, as Leibniz saw it, from the wisdom of God.

In light of the importance of Leibniz’s correspondence with Clarke during the last year of his life, the 10th annual conference of the LSNA features papers dealing with some aspect of the personal, political, scientific, and philosophical dimensions of the correspondence, as well as with Leibniz’s responses to the Newtonians in general.

The conference will begin on Friday 4 November at 1:00 PM and will end at 1:00 PM on Sunday 6 November. The conference will take place in room 118 of the Classroom and Business Building (CBB), which is located due North of the Hilton Hotel (as indicated near the center of this section of the campus map.)

The conference dinner will be held on Saturday 5 November at 7PM. Rides will be provided from the Hilton Hotel on campus. There are a number of places on campus to go for dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday. I recommend Eric's restaurant at the hotel and the Fresh Foods Company Dining Hall, which is located in a building behind (south-southwest of) the hotel, but there are a number of other choices as well, as listed here. There are usually a number of food trucks positioned around the campus as well, at least on weekdays (I am not sure about the weekends).

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