Leibniz and the Roots of Aesthetic Rationalism

Frederick C. Beiser

in Diotima's Children

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199573011
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722202 | DOI:
Leibniz and the Roots of Aesthetic Rationalism

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This chapter examines the aesthetic dimension of Leibniz's philosophy. It begins with a discussion of his definition of beauty. It then considers his account of sensible qualities in general. While Leibniz did not limit beauty to the pleasures of sense, he fully recognized that many characteristic aesthetic qualities are sensible. Leibniz's account of sensible qualities is fundamental for the entire rationalist aesthetic tradition, especially for those who held that beauty is a sensible pleasure. The chapter also discusses his principle of ‘the classical trinity’, i.e. the unity of truth, beauty, and goodness. Although Leibniz does not explicitly defend or elaborate this principle, it is essential to, and implicit in, his entire metaphysics.

Keywords: Leibniz; aesthetic rationalism; sense; classical trinity; truth; definition of beauty; goodness

Chapter.  6480 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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