The Potentiality of Innate Ideas: A Modal Problem.

jeudi 30 septembre, 11h50-12h20

Résumé de la communication :

As is well known, Leibniz argues for innate ideas in his Nouveaux Essais, adding to Lockes „Nihil est in intellectu, quod non fuerit in sensu" his „excipe: nisi ipse intellectus" (NE II.1, §2). This kind of inesse differs from the Leibnizian understanding of it in logics, for it is a potentiality which needs a further activity of the mind in order to get the state of a distinct (or symbolic) knowledge. This kind of potentiality is a dynamic capacity of the understanding, which is called "le source" of the necessary truths NE I.1, §1). The interesting point, here, is not only the well known distinction between necessary and contingent truths; I intend to focus on the process of proof giving, i.e. on the Leibnizian thesis that it is nothing but the understanding itself which brings it about – but "in tempore" (§6) so that there is a temporal process involved. Indeed, it is the individual who delivers under contingent circumstances a proof which holds necessarily. Leibniz notes somewhere that that this is a kind of emanatio comparable to God’s way of creating the world. This indicates a complex problem: Differing from Descartes, Leibniz holds that God did not create the eternal and timeless necessary truths but only the contingent world. Differing from Spinoza, he explains "Ideae non agunt. Mens agit". It is this modal tension which shall be analyzed further.