The Illusory Nature of Leibniz's System

Catherine Wilson

in New Essays on the Rationalists

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195165418
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868285 | DOI:
The Illusory Nature of Leibniz's System

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Leibniz has often been described as holding to a kind of phenomenalism. Yet Leibniz did not have a single account of perception, or of the embodied mind, or of the monad, but a set of conflicting and mutually inconsistent accounts that preclude the possibility that there is any such thing as “Leibniz's System.” This difficulty raises problems of interpretation, since it is sometimes maintained that the principle of charity precludes the assignment of frankly inconsistent views to a philosopher. The essay argues that we should not be misled by the intentionalist fallacy into looking for order within a text as opposed to order commentators can impose by making a philosopher's inconsistencies intelligible.

Keywords: embodiment; intentionalist fallacy; interpretation; Leibniz; monad; perception; phenomenalism; principle of charity; system; Catherine Wilson

Chapter.  9746 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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