This paper examines Du Châtelet’s and Kant’s responses to the famous vis viva controversy – Du Châtelet in her Institutions Physiques (1742) and Kant in his debut, the Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces (1746–49). The Institutions was not only a highly influential contribution to the vis viva controversy, but also a pioneering attempt to integrate Leibnizian metaphysics and Newtonian physics. The young Kant’s evident knowledge of this work has led some to speculate about his indebtedness to her philosophy. My study corrects such speculations as well as misunderstandings of the Living Forces. This corrective result has implications for how to investigate Kant’s relation to the ever-evolving landscape of Leibniz exegeses.
G.W. Leibniz’s legacy to philosophy is extraordinary for his vast body of work, for his originality and prescience, and for his influence. The aim of this volume is to provide a state-of-the-art exploration of Leibniz’s philosophy and its legacy, especially in the period up to Kant. The essays collected here offer new insights into signature elements of Leibniz’s thought – the theory of contingency, anti-materialism, the principle of sufficient reason, the metaphysics of substance, and his philosophy of mind – as well as the influence of predecessors such as Lull, Descartes, and Malebranche, the reckoning of his ideas in the works of Wolff and Kant, and the contributions of Clarke, Baumgarten, Meier, Du Châtelet, and others to the content, transmission, and reception of Leibnizian philosophy.