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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 6, Issue 1/2, Octubre 1991

G. W. Leibniz (1646-1716)

Wolfgang Lenzen
Pages 83-96

Leibniz on privative and primitive terms

We first present an edition of the manuscript LH VII, B 2, 39 in which Leibniz develops a new formalism in order to give rigorous definitions of positive, of privative, and of primitive terms. This formalism involves a symbolic treatment of conceptual quantification which differs quite considerably from Leibniz’s “standard” theory of “indefinite concepts” as developed, e.g., in the “General Inquirles” In the subsequent commentary we give an interpretation and a critical evaluation of Leibniz’s symbolic apparatus. It turns out that the definition of privative terms and primitive terms lead to certain inconsistencies which, however, can be avoided by slight modifications.

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