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New Essays on the Rationalists$
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Rocco J. Gennaro and Charles Huenemann

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195165411.001.0001

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The Illusory Nature of Leibniz's System

The Illusory Nature of Leibniz's System

Chapter:
(p.372) 18 The Illusory Nature of Leibniz's System
Source:
New Essays on the Rationalists
Author(s):

Catherine Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195165411.003.0018

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

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