G.W. Leibniz: Sign and the Problem of Expression

Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 57 (1):146-165 (2020)
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The disciplinary differentiation of sciences attracted Leibniz’s attention for a long period of time. From nowadays prospects it looks very well grounded as soon as in Leibniz’s manuscripts a modern scholar finds clue ideas of any research field which would tempt him to consider Leibniz as one of the founders of this particular discipline. We argue that this is possible only in retrospection and would significantly distort the essence of Leibniz’s epistemology. Our approach implies, in contrary, the investigation of the Leibniz doctrine of signs on the background of the related philosophical problem, that of expression. The choice of semiotics is justified by the fact that it took a central place in his theoretical constructions, both those of natural sciences and of philosophy. In Leibniz system of knowledge the concept of notes (notae) and sings (signa) served a theoretical foundation of his most important and long-life aspiration to build up practical science of universal characteristics (characteristica universalis). In his eyes this practical science was the science of sciences (Scientia scientiarum), and we can consider it as the matrix for all possible scientific knowledge.

Author's Profile

Dimitri Bayuk
Financial University Under The Government of The Russian Federation


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