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Sensibility and Understanding in Leibniz and Kant

From the book 14/2016 Der deutsche Idealismus und die Rationalisten / German Idealism and the Rationalists

  • Brandon C. Look


One of the central features of Kant’s epistemology and philosophy of mind is the distinction between sensibility and understanding, the two stems of human cognition that work in conjunction to form valid objective judgments. The distinction between sensibility and understanding also underlies Kant’s criticism of his philosophical predecessors in the dogmatic and empiricist traditions. According to Kant, Leibniz’s failure to see the true nature of sensibility and the mental representations derived therefrom led to his unique and uniquely flawed metaphysics. In this paper, I argue that Kant’s criticism of Leibniz is weaker than normally thought.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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