Leibniz on Spinoza's Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione

Mogens Laerke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter studies Leibniz’s engagement with the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect (TIE). In May 1678, Leibniz wrote to his friend Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus: “Surely you do not ignore that the posthumous works of Spinoza have been published. Among them there is a fragment On the Emendation of the Intellect, but he stops exactly at the place where I expected the most” (A II, i, 413). This passage constitutes the only direct evaluation of Spinoza’s TIE by Leibniz that we know of. Leibniz’s evaluation expresses disappointment, and one wonders what exactly it was that Leibniz so eagerly expected to learn at the point where Spinoza’s text breaks off. Lærke attempts to answer this question by reconstructing Leibniz’s reading of the TIE on the basis of marginal notes and the context of his engagement with Spinoza’s philosophy in the latter half of the 1670s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Young Spinoza
Subtitle of host publicationA Metaphysician in the Making
EditorsYitzhak Y. Melamed
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780199971657
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2015


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