Appeared in 2012. It was presented in conference form in the concluding session of the 2011 Leibniz-Kongress. Complete concepts, a key notion of Leibniz’s philosophy, are analysed in their metaphysical genesis in Leibniz’s theory of creation. Both forms they are supposed to have (collections of predicates, individual histories) are discussed in the framework of Leibniz’s metaphysics of individual essences.
Did it all begin with Tschirnhaus? This paper discusses the exemplary role that Tschirnhaus could play in the reconstruction of an empirically oriented, scientific, somewhat radical and variously unorthodox current in 18th-century German philosophy, starting from 18th-century characterizations of his intellectual image.
The scattered and pervasive variability of material objects, being a conspicuous part of the very experience of early-modern and modern science, challenges its purely theoretic character in many ways. Problems of this kind turn out in such different scientific contexts as Galilean physics, chemistry, and physiology. Practical answers are offered on the basis of different approaches, among which, in particular, two can be singled out. One is made out by what is often called an ‘art’ of experiments. From the Renaissance (...) until J. H. Lambert’s writings of the 1750–1760s, we can follow a train of reflections on the art of making experiments that deal precisely with the persistence of contingency in the material objects of pure science. The other is the analysis of contingency in probabilistic terms. They develop subsequently and eventually meet, as it can be seen precisely in Lambert’s work: among the first to pursue this path are Jakob Bernoulli and Leibniz. (shrink)
The Author attempts to reconstruct Leibniz’s philosophy through the physiology of the processes of perception, inner sense, and general cognition, and their metaphysical implications, using both Leibniz’s published and unpublished works. The volume contains four chapters ("The Young Leibniz", "Thought Mechanisms", "The Means of Perception", "The Functions of Imagination"), and a number of hitherto unpublished texts by Leibniz.
Popkin set Erasmus as the beginner of modern skepticism, and made of him an apologetic sort of sceptic, that uses doubt to make acceptable the tradition and authority of the church. The pivotal moment is the debate concerning free will. Luther is particularly upset by Erasmus’ professions of skepticism in his De libero arbitrio, although it was meant by him as an appeal to moderation: the key to Erasmus’ skepticism isn’t religious incredulity, but putting doubt to good use, in suspending (...) judgements that are not necessary and might be dangerous to peace and concord among christians. Doubt isn’t endorsed by the christian tradition, nor by the literary one, and technical treatments (in logic or rhetorics) are not favored by Erasmus. Moreover skepticism receives the same ambiguous consideration that Erasmus has for philosophy in general. But he practices doubt nevertheless, in both forms of dubitare and ambigere. The latter is particularly important, since this practice of skepticism is particularly useful in avoiding the common error of doing what one had better omit. These ideas of Erasmus play a role in his cultural, theolocial, and ecclesiastical program, developed by him along many years, and specifically in the years of the crudest confrontation among emerging religious factions. In the works of the greats catholic skeptics, such as Huet, skepticism and fideism will be tightly connected, Erasmus supports skepticism as a means to gain for all contending parties a right to doubt and ask for suspension of judgement in matter of warlike controversy, aiming instead to concile intellectual freedom and irenic perspectives. (shrink)
To avoid the mystical rapture that seizes interpreters put before the theme of unitas oppositorum in Cusanus and Leibniz, this contribution shall move from the prosaic question: what does ensue from such opposites or from their conjunction? 2) interweave the analysis with some external point of view, notably that of Erasmus. This question will be investigated on the background of two antitethical traditions in dealing philosophically with opposition and contradiction, although in the end we shall try and find out other (...) ways and reasons for connecting the two thinkers on the ground of the various possible unitates oppositorum, than those of the metaphysical doctrine of the opposites. (shrink)
Between Giuseppe Peano and Camillo Berneri, a foremost protagonist of the Italian anarchist movement, an interesting correspondence was exchanged in the years 1925-1929. Along with a presentation of the correspondence, Peano's political attitude and the role of his international language projects in early 20th century Italian left are discussed.
The paper (of which an ample Spanish reworking has appeared in 2012, see <http://philpapers.org/rec/PASLTL>) tries to evaluate Leibniz’s enduring fascination with Spinoza and presents an overview in five stages of the development of his complex relationship to his thought, beginning with the time of Mainz, when Leibniz shows a strange urgency to get in epistolary contact with the author of the Theologico-Political Treatise, despite his public rejection of both the work and the author; then Leibniz’s stay in Paris, especially in (...) the year 1675, when he seeks information through Tschirnhaus on Spinoza’s clandestine doctrines; their personal meeting in the Hague, towards the end of the year 1676, and the subsequent distancing of Leibniz from Spinozism; the reading by Leibniz of Spinoza’s Opera Posthuma and the extension of his arguments against Spinozism to discredit Cartesian philosophy in general, and, finally, Leibniz’s retrospective evaluation of Spinoza’s thought in the Theodicy. (shrink)
Leibniz participates in a quite important thought tradition of christian Europe, that of concordia between Christians, or between religions. With him this heritage is universalised: the globalization of concordia gives birth to Leibniz’s harmony of universal truth, that the whole of humankind can access.
The paper discusses problems related to historical change in the field of technology applied to the preservation and communication of knowledge. Debates of the years 1990s about the possible decadence of (printed) books in favour of other technologies, are evaluated with the help of a historical analogy. The art of memory was a widespread non-material technique for managing information in a world of prevalent oral communication, which was set aside by the new technologies of printed communication. In the first part, (...) the Author discusses the final phase in the history of the art of memory, sketching Lambert Schenckel’s biography as a good example of utmost individual success in the teaching of the art. Schenckel’s time sees the maximum demand for teaching in the art of memory; nevertheless those are the years when the printed book has already completely won its battle. The second part regards the possibility of a survival of the book as a technological model (i.e. as a model to build applications in new technologies for knowledge communication), notwithstanding the technologies involved in its production, just as the art of memory has been recently used as a model for constructing hypermedia, and just as the book itself survived technological revolutions in past ages. The issue is discussed carefully avoiding to engage in prophecy. (shrink)
Ludovico Geymonat was the most important philosopher of science in 20th-century Italy, but he also engaged in the Liberation War and in political activity. Here the first part of his career, when his activity was mostly based in Turin, is aketched, and an overall balance is suggested.
Detlev Clüver (1645-1708) was among the first to criticize Leibniz's new infinitesimal analysis. Although his criticisms were vague and his methods inconsistent, Leibniz had always for him a friendly sort of consideration. The article presents Clüver's biography, writings, and thought, together with a detailed description of Leibniz's relations to him and of their correspondence, and contains a bibliography of Clüver's writings.
The paper (an ample reworking of a 2005 Italian paper) tries to evaluate Leibniz’s enduring fascination with Spinoza and presents an overview in five stages of the development of his complex relationship to his thought, beginning with the time of Mainz, when Leibniz shows a strange urgency to get in epistolary contact with the author of the Theologico-Political Treatise, despite his public rejection of both the work and the author; then Leibniz’s stay in Paris, especially in the year 1675, when (...) he seeks information through Tschirnhaus on Spinoza’s clandestine doctrines; their personal meeting in the Hague, towards the end of the year 1676, and the subsequent distancing of Leibniz from Spinozism; the reading by Leibniz of Spinoza’s Opera Posthuma and the extension of his arguments against Spinozism to discredit Cartesian philosophy in general, and, finally, Leibniz’s retrospective evaluation of Spinoza’s thought in the Theodicy. (shrink)
The paper deals with the connection of "mathesis", intuition and imagination in Descartes' "Regulae ad directionem ingenii" - young Descartes' first writing about methodology, intended to set the foundation of a "mathesis generalis" - and in some of his followers/critics, in particular Leibniz, on the background of the so-called psychology of faculties. Two are the main points at stake: the presence of mental images in thought processes, and the cognitive functions of the imagination. A thorough analysis of Descartes' examples of (...) intuitive, not-imaginative cognition shows the difficulties in his approach. Different solutions will be proposed by Descartes himself and by most cartesians, on one hand, and by Tschirnhaus on the other hand. Leibniz's peculiar solution is finally considered. (shrink)
During the 19th and the 20th century the concept of system undergoes significant transformations. The interplay of biology and sociology gives rise to an olistic definition of the concept, in order to understand society by means of schemes developed in the field of theoris of organisms. It is possible to follow this development from Pareto and Henderson, to Parsons, and finally to Luhmann, by examining the various biological models to which they refer.
It is well known that Peano had a reluctant attitude towards philosophy, including philosophy of mathematics. Some scholars have suggested the existence of an 'implicit' philosophy, without being able to describe it. In this paper a first attempt is done to reconstruct, if not a general philosophy of mathematics, at least Peano' epistemology of mathematics and its relation to contemporary positions.
This paper takes its start from the unpublished Leibnizian manuscript of which a critical edition and an Italian translation are presented by the Author in the same issue of “Discipline filosofiche‘ -- in particular from some passages concerning what we might roughly call teleological projections. A parallel analysis of Leibniz’s and Husserl’s attitudes to the attribution of teleological properties, at various levels of complexity, factuality, ideality, to the natural world and to human history, shows in Husserl’s teleology a mix of (...) ingredients very similar to those of Leibniz’s own one -- ingredients that Husserl always relished -- but with quite different results. On the one hand, for Husserl the universal order is teleologically realised in humanity, albeit with a reference to transcendence that has never been made by him completely clear. On the other hand, perhaps thanks to being unaware of Kant’s future contributions to the field, Leibniz seems more capable to avoid certain naïver forms of teleological attribution to which Husserl might seem more prone. (shrink)