Unconscious Conceiving and Leibniz's Argument for Primitive Concepts

Studia Leibnitiana 38 (2):177-196 (2006)
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Abstract
In a recent paper, Dennis Plaisted examines an important argument that Leibniz gives for the existence of primitive concepts. After sketching a natural reading of this argument, Plaisted observes that the argument appears to imply something clearly inconsistent with Leibniz’s other views. To save Leibniz from contradiction, Plaisted offers a revision. However, his account faces a number of serious difficulties and therefore does not successfully eliminate the inconsistency. We explain these difficulties and defend a more plausible alternative. In the process, we call attention to the neglected topic of Leibniz’s views on the nature of conceiving, and reveal his commitment to the somewhat surprising thesis that one can conceive something through a concept even if one has no conscious grasp of that concept.
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Archival date: 2018-11-28
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