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Leibniz, who had constructed his “monadology” on a Platonic and Aristotelian basis, and who had also insisted on the ideality of spatiotemporal form. It is thus that Leibniz will be taken as the starting point of the tradition of Continental idealism as it is treated in this book. (p2)

对强弱transcendental idealism的区分:

But beneaththis well-known picture of Kant as a type of metaphysical sceptic (that I characterise as the “weak” interpretation of transcendental idealism—“weak TI”) was a stronger thesis (“strong TI”), which asserted that everything into which traditional metaphysics inquired and which it took to be ultimately real was, in some sense, mind-dependent, and did not have per se existence. (p2)


On the interpretation presented here, the development of idealism in the post-Kantian period was to develop the programme of strong TI, the investigation of a world that was not “there anyway”, but which had been constructed by the human mind throughout its own developmental history. The full-blown development of this programme was to be found in Hegel’s idealist metaphysics of “spirit”.(p2)


Putting both Kant and the post-Kantians in the context of Leibniz’s attempt to rejuvenate the Platonist tradition in the context of emerging modern culture, and understanding what it might be to be an idealist rather than a realist about form, allows us to better understand the general orientation of the type of thought I call “Continental idealism”. (p3)


All these might be contrasted with what are characteristically taken as the features of mainstream English-speaking philosophy (especially what has become dominant in the “analytic philosophy” of the last hundred years)— thus, with the tendency of philosophy (1) to align itself with the outlook of modern science against religion and ancient philosophy; (2) to favour a predominantly empiricist conception of knowledge based on a model of perceptual knowledge; (3) to reject as wrong-headed the sorts of pre-modern conceptions of existence as found in Platonism and Aristotelianism; and (4) to align itself with a materialist realism (or “naturalism”), conceived of as opposed to “idealism” as found in Berkeley, that is, as opposed to spiritual realism. (p5)



Among the features of Aristotelian thought that had to be overthrown in order for the new cosmology to emerge was Aristotle’s account of the nature of space, and it would be in the context of arguments over the new conception of space that Continental idealism would be born.

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