Leibniz and Malebranche on innate ideas

Philosophical Review 97 (1):71-91 (1988)
Abstract
This paper seeks to reconstruct an important controversy between leibniz and malebranche over innate ideas. It is argued that this controversy is in some ways more illuminating than the better-Known debate between leibniz and locke, For malebranche's objections to innate ideas raise fundamental questions concerning the status of dispositions and the relationship between logic and psychology. The paper shows that in order to meet malebranche's objections, Leibniz adopts a strategy which is doubly reductionist: ideas are reduced to dispositions to think in certain ways, And these dispositions are in turn reduced to unconscious perceptions. It is suggested that malebranche's platonist commitment to the existence of abstract entities forces leibniz to reveal the extent of his nominalism
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