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In the 1750s Optimism, the Leibnizian doctrine that the actual world is the best possible world, popularized by Pope in 1733 in his Essay on Man, was a hot topic. In 1759 Kant wrote and published a brief essay defending Optimism, Attempt at some Reflections on Optimism. Kant’s aim in this essay...
This paper offers a novel solution to the long-standing puzzle of why the Canon of Pure Reason maintains, in contradiction to Kant’s position elsewhere in the first Critique, both that practical freedom can be proved through experience, and that the question of our transcendental freedom is...
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...
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...
This paper argues that in Christian Wolff’s theory of knowledge, logical regimentation does not take the place of experiential justification, but serves to facilitate the application of empirical information and clearly exhibit its warrant. My argument targets rationalistic interpretations such...
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...
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...
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