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.
The ethics and moral psychology of the Phaedo crucially depend on claims made uniquely about bodily desire. This paper offers an analysis and defense of the account of bodily desire in the dialogue, arguing that bodily desires – desires with their source in processes or conditions of the body – are characterized by three features: motivational pull, assertoric force, and intensity. Desires with these features target the soul’s rational functions with distinctive forms of imprisonment. They target the soul’s capacity to rule with servility; and they target the soul’s capacity for knowledge with confinement in the visible world.
The focus of the paper is that for Plato all kinds of knowing, including sense perception, are acts of distinguishing something (krinein). Emotions and strivings are depending on acts of distinguishing and each part of the soul has a specific way of knowing, feeling and desiring. The thymoeides desires pleasures which arise from the judgement (doxa) of individual abilities and achievements (erga). It is related to the individual cases in which these abilities or achievements are preserved or destroyed. The close relationship between logistikon and thymoeides results from the fact that the thymoeides deals with the sphere of doxa. That’s why it is more open to rational argumentation than the epithymētikon, whose primary sphere is sense perception.
Plato’s tripartite soul plays a central role in his account of justice in the Republic. It thus comes as a surprise to find him apparently abandoning this model at the end of the work, when he suggests that the soul, as immortal, must be simple. I propose a way of reconciling these claims, appealing to neglected features of the city-soul analogy and the argument for the soul’s division. The original true soul, I argue, is partitioned, but in a finer manner than how we encounter it in our everyday lives.
This paper is a defense of the view that existence is a perfection. Anselm’s First Ontological Argument is referred to throughout. Two major objections are advanced: the ‘perfect island’ objection and the ‘perfect devil’ objection. A rebuttal of both, based on Anselm’s reply to Gaunilo, is tendered, but itself faces a major objection. Two lines of defense against this objection are possible. The first is sympathetically explained but it is argued that it ultimately fails. The second, which focuses on the idea of a perfection and a perfect being, is elaborated and defended against a seemingly powerful objection. It is concluded that there is a reasonable interpretation of the claim that existence is a perfection.