The power and limits of reason: Some aspects of Leibniz's criticism of Pierre Bayle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Downloads (Pure)


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
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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


Dive into the research topics of 'The power and limits of reason: Some aspects of Leibniz's criticism of Pierre Bayle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this