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Leibniz vs. Stahl: A controversy well beyond medicine and chemistry

Abstract : Between 1707 and 1708, Georg Ernst Stahl presented his medical doctrine under the title Theoria Medica vera. Leibniz immediately questioned certain points in Stahl's doctrine. He made two principal points: the first dealt with three general questions on the logical and metaphysical foundations of science; the second focused on certain specific statements made by Stahl in his treatises. The controversy between Stahl and Leibniz can be used as a prism through which the debate within the République des Lettres about the living body can be analyzed. Leibniz's philosophy is built as a diachronic and synchronic dialogue, which aims at building an encyclopaedia, that makes sense of reality. What is at stake in the controversy is a definition of the organism as mixed and living. Therefore, the questions this essay deals with are: Why, and how, does Leibniz use the method of controversy to define his object, the organism, as a mixed and living body? I submit that the use of this method reflects a search for a touchstone for assessing two theses concerning the same object. That is to say, through their controversy, Leibniz and Stahl test their two incompatible philosophies of nature: the controversy should help to establish which philosophy of nature corresponds most adequately to the contemporary state of knowledge in medicine and chemistry.
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Contributor : Sarah Carvallo <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 2, 2013 - 4:47:06 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 3:01:12 AM

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Sarah Carvallo. Leibniz vs. Stahl: A controversy well beyond medicine and chemistry. Dascal Marcelo. The Practice of Reason. Leibniz and his controversies., John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.101-136, 2010, 9789027218872. ⟨halshs-00912831⟩

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