The power and limits of reason

Some aspects of Leibniz's criticism of Pierre Bayle

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Abstract

In the introductory texts to Theodicy, Leibniz argues with Pierre Bayle about the limits of human reason. In the Preface, Leibniz accuses Bayle of wanting to 'silence reason after having made it talk too much'. In the Preliminary Discourse, he explains in detail the reasons that led him to accuse Bayle of committing this double abuse and contrasts them with his own approach. At the centre of the argument is the different way of understanding the distinction between what is 'above reason' and what is 'against reason'. This article analyses Leibniz's critique and its denouement: Bayle is accused of incoherence and of hiding his dogmatism under the layer of a critical attitude and Leibniz proposes to substitute, what is in his illusory view, Bayle's 'triumph of faith over reason' for a singular form of triumph of faith 'in the name of reason', which thus becomes the sole 'judge of controversies'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-109
Number of pages19
JournalEnrahonar : Quaderns de Filosofia
Issue number59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Appearance
  • Error
  • Experience
  • Faith
  • Illusion
  • Logic of the contingent
  • Truths of fact
  • Truths of reason
  • Verisimilitude

Cite this

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title = "The power and limits of reason: Some aspects of Leibniz's criticism of Pierre Bayle",
abstract = "In the introductory texts to Theodicy, Leibniz argues with Pierre Bayle about the limits of human reason. In the Preface, Leibniz accuses Bayle of wanting to 'silence reason after having made it talk too much'. In the Preliminary Discourse, he explains in detail the reasons that led him to accuse Bayle of committing this double abuse and contrasts them with his own approach. At the centre of the argument is the different way of understanding the distinction between what is 'above reason' and what is 'against reason'. This article analyses Leibniz's critique and its denouement: Bayle is accused of incoherence and of hiding his dogmatism under the layer of a critical attitude and Leibniz proposes to substitute, what is in his illusory view, Bayle's 'triumph of faith over reason' for a singular form of triumph of faith 'in the name of reason', which thus becomes the sole 'judge of controversies'.",
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KW - Appearance

KW - Error

KW - Experience

KW - Faith

KW - Illusion

KW - Logic of the contingent

KW - Truths of fact

KW - Truths of reason

KW - Verisimilitude

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