Leibniz vs. Locke on the Infinite.
vendredi 1er octobre, 11h20-11h50
Résumé de la communication :
On the face of it, there are several
inconsistencies in the account of the infinite that Leibniz gives in the
New Essays. He claims, in opposition to Locke, that the idea of the genuine
infinite (the absolute) is internal to us, yet in the Preface he had said
that "all we can do with infinities is to know them confusedly"; and though he
agrees with Locke that there is no infinite number, he insists that there is an
infinity of things in the smallest part of matter.
I shall argue here that the
inconsistency among these apparently discursive responses to Locke is removed by
attention to Leibniz's tripartite distinction among the syncategorematic,
categorematic and absolute infinities, which is part of a long-held theory of
the infinite that successfully underpins both his mathematics and natural
philosophy; but that his defence of the absolute as a species of infinite is not