This collection of essays challenges the prevailing assumption that eighteenth-century German philosophy prior to Kant was largely defined by post-Leibnizian rationalism and, accordingly, a low esteem of the cognitive function of the senses. It does so by highlighting the various ways in which eighteenth-century German philosophers reconceived the notion and role of experience in their efforts to identify, defend, and contest the contribution of sensibility to disciplines such as metaphysics, theology, the natural sciences, psychology, and aesthetics. Engaging in depth with Tschirnhaus, Wolff, the Wolffians, eclecticism, Popularphilosophie, the Berlin Academy, Tetens, and Kant, its thirteen chapters present a more nuanced understanding of the German reception of British and French ideas and dismiss the prevailing view that German philosophy was largely isolated from European debates. Moreover, the book introduces a number of relatively unknown, but highly relevant philosophers and developments to non-specialized scholars and contributes to a better understanding of the richness and complexity of the German Enlightenment.

chapter |13 pages


ByKarin de Boer, Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet

part I|63 pages

Wolff and Wolffianism

chapter 1|20 pages

Before and Beyond Leibniz

Tschirnhaus and Wolff on Experience and Method
ByCorey W. Dyck

chapter 2|18 pages

The Role of Experience in Wolff’s General Cosmology

ByChristian Leduc

chapter 3|23 pages

Aesthetica Experimentalis

Baumgarten and the Aesthetic Dimension of Experience *
ByAlessandro Nannini

part II|59 pages

Eclecticism and Popularphilosophie

chapter 4|17 pages

The Thomasian Context

Crusius on Experience
ByStefan Heßbrüggen-Walter

chapter 5|21 pages

Experience and Inner Sense

ByUdo Thiel

part III|89 pages

The Berlin Academy

chapter 7|17 pages

Contingency and Experience in Maupertuis’s Essay on Cosmology

ByAnne-Lise Rey

chapter 9|22 pages

Lambert on Experience and Deduction

ByPaola Basso

chapter 10|25 pages

On the Mitigated Phenomenalism of J.-B. Merian

ByTinca Prunea-Bretonnet

part IV|68 pages

Tetens and Kant

chapter 11|23 pages

The Role of Experience in Kant’s Prize Essay

ByCourtney D. Fugate

chapter 12|20 pages

Tetens on the Nature of Experience

Between Empiricism and Rationalism
ByClinton Tolley, R. Brian Tracz

chapter 13|23 pages

Kant’s Inquiries into a New Touchstone for Metaphysical Truths

ByKarin de Boer