The Experiential Turn in Eighteenth-Century German Philosophy  book cover
1st Edition

The Experiential Turn in Eighteenth-Century German Philosophy

ISBN 9781032002859
Published May 18, 2021 by Routledge
322 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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

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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).