Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: The Theory of Intensive Magnitudes in Leibniz and Kant
Authors: Diehl, Catharine Elizabeth
Advisors: Heller-Roazen, Daniel
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Keywords: Intensive Magnitudes
Subjects: Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation demonstrates the fundamental importance of the problem of intensive magnitudes for Leibniz and Kant. While their work has generated an immense scholarly literature, the systematic role of the concept of intensive magnitude has been neglected. I argue that attending to the problem of degree-valued properties reveals new connections among Leibniz's and Kant's metaphysical, epistemological, and aesthetic concerns. I show that they struggle to provide a unified theory of degree-valued properties, drawing on many aspects of their theoretical and practical philosophies. The problem of intensive magnitudes provides a new perspective on the relationship between Leibniz and Kant that reduces it neither to simple continuity nor to discontinuity. In addition, tracing the development of theories of intensive magnitudes shows that standard accounts of the rise of aesthetics in the eighteenth century miss the links between questions of taste and feeling and broader epistemological and metaphysical concerns; these accounts thus fail to appreciate the specific importance of eighteenth-century aesthetic theory for philosophy as a whole. In an introductory chapter, I show that Leibniz's theory of intensive magnitudes draws on two distinct sources: the discussion of the <italic>je ne sais quoi</italic> in the seventeenth century and the long tradition of reflection concerning the problem of the intensification and remission of forms. The first chapter argues that Leibniz provides a new account of the individuation of substances on the basis of their intensive magnitudes. In the second I turn to a consideration of Leibniz's law of continuity--the principle that nature never makes leaps--and demonstrate the way in which this principle grounds Leibniz's theory of petites perceptions and the je ne sais quoi. Chapter 3 reconstructs Kant's argument in the Critique of Pure Reason for the a priori principle that the &ldquo;real&rdquo; corresponding to sensation has an intensive magnitude. The concluding chapter considers whether representations contained in a single instant are simple and argues that, according to Kant's account in the Analytic of the Sublime, the instant is not a constituent of objective cognition but arises from the feeling of limitation.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Diehl_princeton_0181D_10142.pdf1.55 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.