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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 32, Issue 1, 2022

Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the Twenty-First Century? Part III

Paul Lodge
Pages 203-219

Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream of Rational and Intuitive Enlightenment

This paper is a new translation and interpretation of the essay by Leibniz which has come to be known as “Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream.” Leibniz used many different literary styles throughout his career, but “Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream” is unique insofar as it combines apparent autobiography with a dreamscape. The content is also somewhat surprising. The essay is reminiscent of Plato, insofar as Leibniz describes a transition from existence in a cave to a more enlightened mode of being outside of it. But, in contrast with the usual identification of Leibniz as a “rationalist,” the mode of being that is valorised involves cognition that is intuitive and supra-rational. The paper begins with the translation followed by an interpretation of the essay. I conclude by considering the ramifications of my interpretation for our conception of Leibniz’s philosophy.