Sources:

Textes inédits tome 2
Gaston Grua (ed)
p 613

Sämtliche schriften und briefe series VI volume 4
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
pp 2842-2843



Date: 1680?

Translated from the Latin



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LEIBNIZ: ON PUBLIC HAPPINESS


[Gr p613] [A VI 4, p2842]

     Whatever is publicly useful, is to be done.
     The common good is valued by the goods of all being collected into one total.
     It is to be ensured before everything else, so that everyone may be content, i.e. so that no one may be afflicted with pain.
     The next thing is to bring it about so that everyone is happy, i.e. that they live in the most pleasing way.
     It is better to be without pleasures than to be afflicted by pain.
     Joy is a state of prevailing pleasures. Sadness is a state of prevailing pains.
     Happiness is a state of enduring joy.1
     Misery is a state of enduring sadness.2
     Good is a necessity without which we are miserable, the rest are only called useful.
     Thus goods and evils are to be distributed among men so that the smallest amount of evil or the greatest common good may thence arise.
     It is to be ensured that men are prudent, endowed with virtue, abundant in faculties, evidently so that they know, will and are able to act in the best way. Moreover, they will not think vicious thoughts, nor will them, nor be able to put them into practice.

[A VI 4, p2843]

     PRUDENCE AND VIRTUE are implanted into souls not only by rules and their reasons which3 are natural and civil rewards and punishments alike, but also by use, i.e. by the exercise of the virtues.
     Rules are either from internal actions or thoughts, which are included in what is known as moral theology or the doctrine of the types of knowledge; or from external actions which can by themselves impinge upon the awareness of others, and it is these with which civil jurisprudence is concerned.4
     However FACULTIES, i.e. the goods that can be distributed among men by the decision of someone with power, are either spiritual or temporal, and hence they are divided into ecclesiastical and secular jurisprudence.





NOTES:

1. Leibniz originally wrote 'pleasure', but crossed it out in favour of 'joy'.
2. Leibniz originally wrote 'pain', but crossed it out in favour of 'sadness'.
3. Here Leibniz wrote and then deleted: 'are obtained partly from the nature of the matter'.
4. Here Leibniz originally wrote and then deleted: 'Because the reasons of the rules are rewards and punishments, which consist in the distribution of goods and evils, the rules are either natural, which adhere to action by the nature of the matter, or arbitrary, i.e. decreed, which are dispensed by the will of some person who has power. And all reasons are encompassed within these.'


© Lloyd Strickland 2004
With gratitude to John Thorley for advice and suggestions