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date: 17 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on Leibniz’s philosophical reflections on alchemy and chemistry, beginning with his views on chemistry and natural philosophy, then considering his understanding of chemical practices as a way to discover the intelligibility of nature. The traditional hypothesis of an alchemical influence behind Leibniz’s development of the monad concept is also discussed. Finally, the chapter looks at Leibniz’s views on the epistemic status of chemical principles. On the one hand, alchemical experiments are perfectly connected to Leibniz’s metaphysics; on the other hand, the alleged alchemical proximities of this metaphysics give way to a general science in which chemical experimentation has a well-identified function.

Keywords: Leibniz, alchemy, chemistry, intelligibility, monad, metaphysics

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