This essay argues that, with his much-maligned “infinite analysis” theory of contingency, Leibniz is onto something deep and important – a tangle of issues that wouldn’t be sorted out properly for centuries to come, and then only by some of the greatest minds of the twentieth century. The first two sections place Leibniz’s theory in its proper historical context and draw a distinction between Leibniz’s logical and meta-logical discoveries. The third section argues that Leibniz’s logical insights initially make his “infinite analysis” theory of contingency more rather than less perplexing. The last two sections argue that Leibniz’s meta-logical insights, however, point the way towards a better appreciation of (what we should regard as) his formal theory of contingency, and its correlative, his formal theory of necessity.
The aim of this paper is to shed light on Leibniz’s justification of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. It approaches this issue through a close textual analysis of the correspondence with Samuel Clarke and a more abstruse and lesser-known writing, ‘Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream’.
Leibniz’s claim that it is possible for us to gain metaphysical knowledge through reflection on the self has intrigued many commentators, but it has also often been criticized as flawed or unintelligible. A similar fate has beset Leibniz’s arguments against materialism. In this paper, I explore one of Leibniz’s lesser-known arguments against materialism from his reply to Bayle’s new note L (1702), and argue that it provides us with an instance of a Leibnizian “argument from reflection”. This argument, I further show, does not constitute a flawed appeal to mere introspection, but is in fact securely grounded in an important corollary of the Principle of Sufficient Reason: Leibniz’s Principle of Intelligibility.
This article aims to make further progress in revising the standard account of Wolff’s philosophy as a popularisation and systematisation of Leibniz’s doctrines. It focuses on the topic of the communication among substances and the metaphysics of simples and activity underlying it. It is argued that Wolff does not accept the pre-established harmony (PEH) in its orthodox Leibnizian version. The article explains Wolff’s departure from Leibniz’s PEH as stemming from his rejection of Leibniz’s construal of the activity of every simple as representational power and of the metaphysics of unity and activity in which that construal is rooted.
Philosophers after Leibniz used a technical idiom to classify and explain the nature of mental content. Substantive philosophical claims were formulated in terms of this vocabulary, including claims about the nature of mental representations, concepts, unconscious mental content, and consciousness. Despite its importance, the origin and development of this vocabulary is insufficiently well understood. More specifically, interpreters have failed to recognize the existence of two distinct and influential versions of the post-Leibnizian idiom. These competing formulations used the same technical terms and taxonomic relations but assigned different connotations to those terms and employed different criteria for their application. This paper explains the two most influential versions of the post-Leibnizian idiom.
„Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert,es kömmt drauf an,sie zu verändern.“ Karl Marx
Die Welt ist in Aufruhr. Religionskonflikte, Kämpfe um Ressourcen, Kriege und Hungersnöte vertreiben die Menschen aus ihren Heimatländern. Die Flüchtlingsströme haben Europa erreicht und die bisher in die Dritte Welt ausgelagerten Probleme ins Herz der alten Welt getragen. Der internationale Finanzsektor ist nach wie vor Schauplatz eines politisch unkontrollierten Neoliberalismus. Der Kapitalismus zeigt derzeit an vielen Orten der Welt ungeschminkt sein hässliches Gesicht. Die Zeit für durchgreifende Veränderungen ist gekommen. Karl Marx stand der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft seiner Zeit unversöhnlich gegenüber. Die aktuellen kritischen Potentiale seines Denkens gilt es heute zu erschließen: Die Ideologie der Sachzwänge, von Marx in ihrer internen Logik entschlüsselt, beherrscht das Denken und ist zum Mantra der Wohlhabenden geworden. Fremdenfeindliche und revanchistische Denkfiguren haben sich an die Stelle von kritischem Bewusstsein, Bildung und Solidarität gesetzt. Angesichts dieser Herausforderungen erscheint das Denken von Karl Marx aktueller denn je. Es ist an der Zeit, sich wieder mit der Marxschen Kritik des Kapitalismus, und damit mit seiner Kritik an unserer Gegenwart, auseinanderzusetzen.
Can a person be morally beautiful? Can a character trait, such as honesty, be beautiful and sneakiness ugly or disgusting? Or are such expressions merely metaphorical? Talk of moral beauty has been commonplace since antiquity; and especially 18th-century philosophers used the notion. Yet, a literal meaning quickly leads to Moral judgements based on mere physical appearance, as physiognomists such as Lavater have endorsed. This book assesses influential 18th-century theories of moral beauty and proposes two conditions for a safe literal conception of moral beauty that not only helps justify many moral judgements based on aesthetic Quality but also shows how beauty and moral virtue can be based on the same principles. First, we need an account of why moral beauty and non-moral physical beauty are distinct kinds of beauty; and second, we need an account of how moral beauty can be expressive of moral virtue without identifying the one with the other. The reasons why Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, and Reid only meet the first condition and why Kant and Schiller meet both conditions are extremely illuminating for current debates on the interactions between aesthetics and moral theory.