Leibniz and Locke and the Debate over
vendredi 1er octobre, 15h20-16h50
Résumé de la communication :
In reading the debate over species in
the Nouveaux Essais, one is struck by the intensity and perplexing
character of the arguments. Within the context of this debate, a striking issue
arises: that is, whether—and if so, how—Leibniz’s arguments constitute a
response to Locke. Susanna Goodin, in her article "Locke and Leibniz and the
Debate over Species",1 argues that Leibniz’s criticisms of Locke’s
position are inadequate as a refutation of Locke’s workmanship of the
understanding thesis, and if Leibniz were to buttress his criticisms by
appeal to his own metaphysical commitments, he could do so only at the expense
of so radically altering the nature of the debate that Locke’s original concerns
would not even arise.2 In my paper, however, I will argue that
Leibniz has more resources available to him within the Nouveaux Essais
than have been previously noted. In particular, I argue contra
Goodin, that Leibniz offers a dialectically adequate, and mechanistically and
empirically respectable, counterproposal to Locke’s workmanship
thesis, which he takes to demonstrate, in a non-question-begging way, the
explanatory superiority of realism about species forms.
1 New Essays on the Rationalists, R. J. Gennaro and C.
Huenemann, (eds). New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp.
2 As Henry Allison has recently argued, Leibniz’s best arguments
against Locke’s workmanship of the understanding thesis is deeply grounded in
the metaphysics of the Monadology. See his "The Critique of
Judgement as a ‘True Apology’ for Leibniz", p.