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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Leibniz’s theory of knowledge is an investigation of the conditions that enable human beings to have that degree of certainty which is appropriate to our various areas of concern. This chapter concerns demonstrative certainty in the sciences of mathematics, which contain necessary a priori truths, and the natural sciences, which are based on the senses and structural principles drawn from reason. According to Leibniz, we rarely attain maximum certainty even in mathematical science. One main problem is to establish first principles with certainty. In lieu of that, Leibniz proposes to convert less than certain theorems to more certain conditionals with axioms as antecedents and theorems as consequents. This is worthwhile because the agreed upon results may prove useful or beneficial. In natural sciences, Leibniz gauges hypotheses on the basis of a theory of objective probability grounded in metaphysics.

Keywords: Leibniz, theory of knowledge, demonstration, reason, sense, nominal definition, real definition, hypotheses

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