Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (1):49-77 (2015)
AbstractLeibniz explains both activity and sensation in terms of the relative distinctness of perception. This paper argues that the systematic connection between activity and sensation is illuminated by Leibniz’s use of distinctness in analyzing each. Leibnizian sensation involves two levels of activity: on one level, the relative forcefulness of an expression enables certain expressions to stand out against the perceptual field, but in addition to this there is an activity of the mind that enables sensory experience. This connection of mental activity and perceptual distinctness enables us to better appreciate the fundamental role perceptual distinctness plays in Leibniz’s theory of sensation.
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