Before and Beyond Leibniz: Tschirnhaus and Wolff on Experience and Method

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Abstract
In this chapter, I consider the largely overlooked influence of E. W. von Tschirnhaus' treatise on method, the Medicina mentis, on Wolff's early philosophical project (in both its conception and execution). As I argue, part of Tschirnhaus' importance for Wolff lies in the use he makes of principles gained from experience as a foundation for the scientific enterprise in the context of his broader philosophical rationalism. I will show that this lesson from Tschirnhaus runs through Wolff's earliest philosophical discussions, and indeed continues to inform his major texts in logic and mathematics just before the publication of the German Metaphysics. In the end, my discussion has the effect of revealing Tschirnhaus to be an exceptionally important influence on Wolff's development, perhaps even as important (or so I suggest) as Leibniz.
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Archival date: 2018-06-15
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