David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Vlad Alexandrescu (ed.), Branching Off: The Early Moderns in Quest for the Unity of Knowledge. Zeta Books (2009)
One of the more interesting topics debated by Leibniz and Locke and one that has received comparatively little critical commentary is the nature of essences and the classification of the natural world.1 This topic, moreover, is of tremendous importance, occupying a position at the intersection of the metaphysics of individual beings, modality, epistemology, and philosophy of language. And, while it goes back to Plato, who wondered if we could cut nature at its joints, as Nicholas Jolley has pointed out, the debate between Leibniz and Locke has very clear similarities to the topic that has dominated the philosophy of language from the 1970s on: namely, the challenge mounted by Kripke, Kaplan, Putnam, and others against Russellian and Fregean descriptivist accounts of meaning. Yet, this topic is also, as Jolley writes, one of the “most elusive” in the debate between Leibniz and Locke.2 The purpose of this paper is to examine in detail Leibniz’s critique of Locke’s distinction between real and nominal essences. In doing so, I hope to show certain virtues in Leibniz’s account of metaphysics and philosophy of language that usually escape notice. While I wish to provide a general account of Leibniz’s disagreement with Locke, I also plan to focus on the nature of species and natural kinds. In my opinion, those who have treated this topic have not paid sufficient attention to Leibniz’s claims that “Essence is fundamentally nothing but the possibility of the thing under consideration” and “essences are everlasting because they only concern.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Rae Langton (2000). Locke's Relations and God's Good Pleasure. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (1):75–91.
Nicholas Jolley (1984). Leibniz and Locke: A Study of the New Essays on Human Understanding. Oxford University Press.
Paul Lodge (2002). Leibniz, Bayle, and Locke on Faith and Reason. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 76 (4):575-600.
Jan-Erik Jones (2010). Locke on Real Essences, Intelligibility and Natural Kinds. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:147-172.
Stewart Duncan (2010). Leibniz on Hobbes's Materialism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (1):11-18.
Markku Roinila (2011). Uneasiness and Passions in Leibniz's Nouveaux Essais II, Xx. In Breger Herbert, Herbst Jürgen & Erdner Sven (eds.), Natur und Subjekt. IX. Internationaler Leibniz-Kongress Vorträge 3. Teil. Leibniz Geschellschaft
Nigel Leary (2009). How Essentialists Misunderstand Locke. History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (3):273-292.
David H. Sanford (1970). Locke, Leibniz, and Wiggins on Being in the Same Place at the Same Time. Philosophical Review 79 (1):75-82.
Manuel Perez Otero (2000). Epistemología representacionalista y realismo científico metafísico en Locke. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):5-17.
Jan-Erik Jones (2006). Leibniz and Locke and the Debate Over Species. In François Duchesneau & Jérémie Girard (eds.), Leibniz selon les Nouxeaux Essais sur l'entendement Humain. Vrin and Bellarmin
Added to index2009-02-01
Total downloads132 ( #29,557 of 1,911,526 )
Recent downloads (6 months)20 ( #32,023 of 1,911,526 )
How can I increase my downloads?