1st Edition

The Experiential Turn in Eighteenth-Century German Philosophy

Edited By Karin de Boer, Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet Copyright 2021
    322 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    322 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection of essays challenges the prevailing assumption that eighteenth-century German philosophy prior to Kant was largely defined by post-Leibnizian rationalism and, accordingly, a low esteem of the cognitive function of the senses. It does so by highlighting the various ways in which eighteenth-century German philosophers reconceived the notion and role of experience in their efforts to identify, defend, and contest the contribution of sensibility to disciplines such as metaphysics, theology, the natural sciences, psychology, and aesthetics. Engaging in depth with Tschirnhaus, Wolff, the Wolffians, eclecticism, Popularphilosophie, the Berlin Academy, Tetens, and Kant, its thirteen chapters present a more nuanced understanding of the German reception of British and French ideas and dismiss the prevailing view that German philosophy was largely isolated from European debates. Moreover, the book introduces a number of relatively unknown, but highly relevant philosophers and developments to non-specialized scholars and contributes to a better understanding of the richness and complexity of the German Enlightenment.


    Karin de Boer and Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet

    Part I. Wolff and Wolffianism

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

    Corey W. Dyck

    2. The Role of Experience in Wolff’s General Cosmology

    Christian Leduc

    3. Aesthetica experimentalis: Baumgarten and the Aesthetic Dimension of Experience

    Alessandro Nannini

    Part II. Eclecticism and Popularphilosophie

    4. The Thomasian Context: Crusius on Experience

    Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter

    5. Experience and Inner Sense: Feder – Lossius – Kant

    Udo Thiel

    6. Christoph Meiners’s Empiricist ‘Revision’ of Philosophy and Michael Hißmann’s Anti-Speculative Materialism

    Falk Wunderlich

    Part III. The Berlin Academy

    7. Contingency and Experience in Maupertuis’s Essay on Cosmology

    Anne-Lise Rey

    8. The Role of Reason, Experience, and Physiology in J.H.S. Formey’s Essay on Dreams

    Annelie Grosse

    9. Lambert on Experience and Deduction

    Paola Basso

    10. On the Mitigated Phenomenalism of J.-B. Merian

    Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet

    Part IV. Tetens and Kant

    11. The Role of Experience in Kant’s Prize Essay

    Courtney Fugate

    12. Tetens on the Nature of Experience: Between Empiricism and Rationalism
    Clinton Tolley and R. Brian Tracz

    13. Kant’s Inquiries into a New Touchstone for Metaphysical Truths

    Karin de Boer


    Karin de Boer is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Leuven. She is the author of Thinking in the Light of Time: Heidegger’s Encounter with Hegel (2000), On Hegel: The Sway of the Negative (2010), and Kant’s Reform of Metaphysics: The Critique of Pure Reason Reconsidered (2020).

    Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet is researcher at the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (Humanities Divison). She is the author of L’avènement de la métaphysique kantienne. Prémisses et enjeux d’une réception au XXe siècle (forthcoming) and co-editor of Kant et Wolff: Héritages et ruptures (2011).