The principle of sufficient reason in German philosophy of the Enlight-enment :: IKBFU's united scientific journal editorial office


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There is only one science. Two sciences are impossible as two universes are
Alexander Herzen

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The principle of sufficient reason in German philosophy of the Enlight-enment

Keywordsprinciple of sufficient reason, metaphysics, ethics, Leibniz, Wolff, Crusius, Kant
AuthorFetisova D.
Abstract (summary) In the 18th century, a philosophical dispute over the Principle of sufficient reason arose in Germany. Despite the fact that this Principe was explicitly formulated by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz only at the end of the 17th century, a major dispute about it was triggered by Christian Wolff who had considerable influence on the German philosophy of Enlightenment. In German Metaphysic, he presented the “strong” definition of the principle and its proof. As a result, freedom was restricted, because the principle of sufficient reason implies the unlimited necessity of all things and excludes the possibility of any happenstance, at least in the real world. It had an adverse effect on philosophy in general and ethics in particular. However, the total elimination of the principle of sufficient reason was impossible. Thus, the main focus of the dispute was the maintaining of freedom without abandoning the sufficient reason. These efforts resulted in various interpretations of this Principle. The most prominent perspectives developed within this dispute were those of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Christian Wolff, his main philosophical opponent — Christan August Crusius, and Immanuel Kant. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the differences between these perspectives and identify the philosophical problems arising from the Principle of sufficient reason in metaphysics and practical philosophy.
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