Leibniz (1646–1716) was usually polite to those whom he criticized, and often allowed that there was some recoverable truth in almost any view, however mistaken. Yet he rejected central positions of all his great seventeenth-century predecessors and peers. Descartes, Hobbes, Gassendi, Locke, Spinoza, Malebranche, Grotius, Pufendorf, Bayle – whatever their role in the formation of his thought, they turned out, in the end, to have made serious mistakes. Ancient and medieval thinkers were more likely to be endorsed, if often in rather vague terms. These two sides of Leibniz's attitude are linked in a famous description of his own theory, uttered by his mouthpiece in the New Essays: “This system appears to unite Plato with Democritus, Aristotle with Descartes, the Scholastics with the moderns, theology and morality with reason. Apparently it takes the best from all systems and then advances further than anyone has yet done” (New Essays, p. 71). In associating his work with that of the premoderns, Leibniz was being neither eclectic nor nostalgic. He was being, in Catherine Wilson's apt term, counterrevolutionary. The newest science, the most up-to-date political practices, the current religious controversies, he argued, were all to be understood and managed only in terms that embodied the deep insights of ancient and medieval thought – or only, in his modest estimate, in his own terms.