Leibniz's mother was Catharina Schmuck
, the daughter of a lawyer and Friedrich Leibniz's third wife.However, Friedrich Leibniz died when Leibniz was only six years old and he
was brought up by his
mother.Certainly Leibniz learnt his
moral and religious values from her
which would play an important role in his
life and philosophy.
At the age of seven, Leibniz entered the Nicolai School
in Leipzig.Although he was taught Latin at school, Leibniz had taught himself far more advanced Latin and some Greek by the age of 12.He
seems to have been motivated by wanting to read his
father's books.As he
progressed through school he
was taught Aristotle's
logic and theory of categorising knowledge.Leibniz
was clearly not satisfied with Aristotle's
system and began to develop his
own ideas on how to improve on it.In later life Leibniz
recalled that at this time he
was trying to find orderings on logical truths which, although he
did not know it at the time, were the ideas behind rigorous mathematical proofs.As well as his
school work, Leibniz
father's books.In particular he
read metaphysics books and theology books from both Catholic and Protestant writers.
In 1661, at the age of fourteen, Leibniz
entered the University of Leipzig
.It may sound today as if this were a truly exceptionally early age for anyone to enter university, but it is fair to say that by the standards of the time he
was quite young but there would be others of a similar age.He studied philosophy, which was well taught at the University of Leipzig, and mathematics which was very poorly taught.
Among the other topics which were included in this two year general degree course were rhetoric, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.He graduated with a bachelors degree in 1663 with a thesis De Principio Individui (On the Principle of the Individual) which:-
... emphasised the existential value of the individual, who is not to be explained either by matter alone or by form alone but rather by his
In this there is the beginning of his
notion of "monad".