Theory and History of Ontology

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Bibliography of the Ontologists from 16th to 18th Centuries: II. From Scheibler to Lambert (1645 - 1777)

Philosophers in chronological order:

  • Christoph Scheibler (1589-1653)
  • Johannes Micraelius (1597-1658)
  • Sebastian Izquierdo (1601-1681)
  • Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-1673)
  • Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606-1682)
  • Abraham Calov (1612-1686)
  • Johannes Clauberg (1622-1665)
  • Jakob Thomasius (1622-1684)
  • Jean Baptiste Du Hamel (1624-1706)
  • Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736)
  • Johann Franz Budde (Buddeus) (1667-1729)
  • Christian Wolff (1679-1754)
  • Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714-1762)
  • Christian August Crusius (1715-1775)
  • Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728-1777)

Suggested readings: among the most important studies on this period, I suggest: Courtine (1990) (fundamental) and (2005), Freedman (1999), Honnefelder (1990) and (2002), Leinsle (1985), Lohr (1988, the best introduction in English), Marion (1975), (1981) and (1988), Schmutz (2000), Wundt (1939 and (1945), Zimmermann (1998).

For the complete references see: Selected Bibliography on the History of Continental Ontology from Suárez to Kant

Christoph Scheibler (1589-1653)


  1. Scheibler, Christoph. 1617. Opus Metaphysicum Duobus Libris Universum Hujus Scientiae Systema Comprehendens. Giessen.

    Second edition Oxford 1633; definitive edition in Opera philosophica: Metaphysica duobus libris universum huius scientiae systema comprehendens. Opus, tum omnium facultatum tum in primis philosophiae & theologiae studiosis utile & necessarium. Premissa est Summaria methodus, ... Frankfurt 1665.

  2. ———. 1654. Opera Philosophica. Frankfurt.

    Four volumes (1654-1658): Opera philosophica ut sunt Opus logicum, quatuor partibus ... Opus metaphysicum, duobus libris ... Liber physicus de anima ... Adiectis ubique indicibus necessariis ... (reprinted 1665).


  1. Pozzo, Riccardo. 2004. "Logic and Metaphysics in German Philosophy from Melanchton to Hegel." In Approaches to Metaphysics, edited by Sweet, William, 57-66. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    On Scheibler see pp. 63-65.

  2. ———. 2005. "Die Transzendentalienlehre Bei Christoph Scheibler." In Das Geheimnis Des Anfangs, edited by Neuser, Wolfgang and Reichold, Anne, 73-78. Bern: Peter Lang.

  3. Roncaglia, Gino. 2003. "Modal Logic in Germany at the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century: Christoph Scheibler's Opus Logicum." In The Medieval Heritage in Early Modern Metaphysics and Modal Logic, 1400-1700, edited by Friedman, Russell L. and Nielsen, Lauge O., 253-308. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Johannes Micraelius (1597-1658)


  1. Micraelius, Johannes. 1653. Lexicon Philosophicum Terminorum Philosophis Usitatorum. Jena.

    Revised edition: Stettin 1661 and 1662.

    Reprint with an introduction by Lutz Geldsetzer: Düsseldorf, Stern-Verlag Janssen & Co. 1966.


  1. Canone, Eugenio. 1997. "I Lessici Filosofici Latini Del Seicento." In Il Vocabolario Della République Des Lettres. Terminologia Filosofica E Storia Della Filosofia. Problemi Di Metodo. Atti Del Convegno Internazionale in Memoriam Di Paul Dibon (Napoli, 17-18 Maggio 1996), edited by Marta, Fattori, 93-114. Firenze: Olschki.

  2. Geldsetzer, Lutz. 1966. "Über Das Philosophische Lexikon Des Johannes Micraelius Und Die Philosophische Lexikographie." In Lexicon Philosophicum Terminorum Philosophis Usitatorum, I-XXII. Düsseldorf: Stern-Verlag Janssen & Co.

    Introduction to the anastatic reprint of the second edition (Stettin, 1662).

Sebastian Izquierdo (1601-1681)


  1. Izquierdo, Sebastian. 1659. Pharus Scientiarum. Lyon.


  1. Ceñal, Ramón. 1974. La Combinatoria De Sebastián Izquierdo: "Pharus Scientiarum" (1659), Disp. Xxix, De Combinatione. Madrid: Instituto de España.

    Texto latino y traducción españols von una introducción: La Disputatio De Combinatione de Izquierdo en la historia de la aritmética combinatoria, desde Clavius a Bernoulli.

  2. Di Vona, Piero. 1964. I Concetti Trascendenti in Sebastián Izquierdo E Nella Scolastica Del Seicento. Napoli: Loffredo.

  3. Fuerte Herreros, José Luis. 1981. La Lógica Como Fundamentación Del Arte General Del Saber En Sebastián Izquierdo: Estudio Del Pharus Scientiarum (1659). Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, Instituto de Estudios Albacetenses.

  4. Schmutz, Jacob. 2002. "Sebastián Izquierdo: De La Science Divine À L'ontologie Des États De Chose." In Sur La Science Divine, edited by Bardout, Jean-Christophe and Boulnois, Olivier, 412-421. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Traduction d'extraits de Le Phare des sciences pp. 422-435.

Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-1673)


  1. Mastri, Bartolomeo. 1646. Disputationes in Xii Libros Metaphysicorum. Venezia.

    2 volumes


  1. Blum, Paul Richard. 2002. "La Métaphysique Comme Théologie Naturelle: Bartolomeo Mastri." Études Philosophiques:31-47.

  2. Burkhardt, Hans. 1988. "Modalities in Language, Thought and Reality in Leibniz, Descartes and Crusius." Synthese no. 75:183-215.

  3. Crowley, Bonaventure. 1948. "The Life and Works of Bartolomeo Mastri, O.F.M. Conv. 1602-1673." Franciscan Studies no. 8:97-152.

  4. Forlivesi, Marco. 2002. Scotistarum Princeps: Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-1673) E Il Suo Tempo. Padova: Centro Studi Antoniani.

  5. ———. 2002. "La Distinction Entre Concept Formel Et Concept Objectif Dans La Pensée De Bartolomeo Mastri." Études Philosophiques:3-30.

  6. ———, ed. 2006. Rem in Seipsa Cernere. Saggi Sul Pensiero Filosofico Di Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-1673). Padova: Il Poligrafo.

    Con introduzioni di Alessandro Ghisalberti e Gregorio Piaia.

  7. Knebel, Sven K. 2002. "Entre Logique Mentaliste Et Métaphysique Conceptualiste: La Distinctio Rationis Ratiocinantis." Études Philosophiques:145-168.

    "In the scholastic way of spelling out "A = A", some sort of distinction intervened between the relata, viz. the distinctio rationis ratiocinantis. To distinguish between the distinctio rationis ratiocinatae and ratiocinantis was commonplace from the sixteenth up to the eighteenth centuries. But how to make sense of a distinction that is without any foundation in the object itself? Mastri's account marks a crisis within Scotism, since his reception of Peter Aureol's conceptualism made it possible to give the d istinctio rationis ratiocinantis a metaphysical rather than a logical interpretation."

Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606-1682)


  1. Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Juan. 1642. Rationalis Et Realis Philosophia. Louvain.


  1. Dvorák, Petr. 2008. "Relational Logic in Juan Caramuel." In Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Woods, John, 645-666. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    Handbook of the History of Logic, vol. 2.

  2. Pastine, Dino. 1975. Juan Caramuel. Probabilismo Ed Enciclopedia. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.

  3. Schmutz, Jacob. 2001. "Juan Caramuel on the Year 2000: Time and Possible Worlds in Early-Modern Scholasticism." In The Medieval Concept of Time. The Scholastic Debate and Its Reception in Early Modern Philosophy, edited by Porro, Pasquale, 399-434. Leiden: Brill.

  4. ———. 2006. "Juan Caramuel Y Lobkowitz (1606-82)." In Centuriae Latinae Ii. Cent Et Une Figures Humanistes De La Renaissance Aux Lumières, À La Mémoire De Marie-Madeleine De La Garanderie, edited by Nativel, Colette, 182-202. Geneva: Droz.

  5. Serrai, Alfredo. 2005. 'Phoenix Europae'. Juan Caramuel Y Lobkowitz in Prospettiva Bibliografica. Milano: Sylvestre Bonnard.

Abraham Calov (1612-1686)

"His most interesting metaphysical works are the Metaphysica divina pars generalis and the Metaphysica divina pars specialis . Calovius's logical / epistemological works, the Gnostologia and Noologia, may be of some interest, although as logic the works are weakened by the psychologism which is often found in logic texts of that period and school.

Calovius is a good example of the typical Protestant metaphysician of the 17th century. According tu Calovius, one's metaphysical studies should be guided by the truths of revealed faith, in this case orthodox Lutheranism. Without the guidance of the celestial light, all our travels into scholarly study are nothing more than pitiable wandering. But we cannot follow this celestial light unless we pay attention to both Scripture and nature. Calovius reveals himself to be a true scholastic by naming Aristotle the foremost philosopher. Thus, the main task of Calovius's work is to reconcile the revealed truths of orthodox Lutheranism with the principles of Aristotle's metaphysics. That one is so enabled to refute the errors of agnostic natural scientists, Socinians (a favourite target of Protestant attacks, this Protestant sect denied the doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ), Jesuits, Calvinists, and other heretics, so much the better. Still, both soumces of knowledge are required: without Aristotelian natural science, there will be factual errors; without Scripture, heresy. ( Hinc tot errores, tot haereses .)

Metaphysics, according to Calovius, is the wisdom of being qua being ( sapientia Entis qua Entis ). This definition should be understood as denoting one discipline, which is also called 'ontology' or 'transcendental wisdom' ( ontologia [in Greek] sive transcendentalis Sapientia ). The usual and improper sense of 'metaphysics' adopted by the Jesuit Benito Pereira (c. 1535-1610). according tu whom metaphysics is concerned with disembodied spirit, is rejected. Indeed, he says, they hallucinate who make the object of metaphysics either God or immaterial substance, and they plainly do not understand the nature of wisdom.

Thus, Calovius believes that the mistake of people like Pereira was to fail to acknowledge a notion of being which is general enough to be common both to spiritual and material beings. This, of course, may not be entirely fair to Pereira and other Thomists, since theological discomfiture may arise from claiming that God and creatures are subsumed under a general concept of being. Does this most general of concepts logically or ontologically precede God? Or is the dignity of God affected by sharing the notion of being with beings like you and me?

Metaphysics, fmally, must deal with what really is, not merely what could be. Calovius claims that truly and properly, metaphysics concerns itself with non-complex, essential, positive, real, actual being ( Ens incomplexum, per se, positivum, reale et actuale ).

Only in an attenuated sense does it contain complex, accidental, deprived beings, beings of reason, and potential beings ( Entia complexa, per accidens, privationes, Entia rationes et in potentia ). Calovius prefers to limit metaphysics tu the former, and we might not incorrectly cali him an 'actualist'. Atfer all, Calovius wonders, how does one abstract notion of being common to actual and potential being, if potential being is not truly being?"

From: Calovius, Abraham by Jeffrey Coombs - in: Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology - Edited by Barry Smith Barry and Hans Burkhardt. Munich: Philosophia Verlag 1991, pp. 112-113.


  1. Calov, Abraham. 1636. Metaphysica Divina, Pars Generalis. Wittenberg.

    Complete title: Metaphysica divina, a principiis primis eruta, in abstractione Entis repraesentata, ad S.S. Theologicam applicata, monstrans, Terminorum et conclusionum transcendentium usum genuinum abusum a hereticum, constans.

  2. ———. 1651. Scripta Philosophica. Lubecca.

    Reprint Wittenberg 1673. Contents: I. Gnostologia; II. Noologia seu habitus intelligentiae; III. Metaphysicae divinae pars generalis; IV. Metaphysicae divinae pars specialis; V. Enciclopedia Mathematica; VI. Methodologia; VII. Ideae encyclopaedias disciplinarum realium.


  1. Appold, Kenneth G. 1998. Abraham Calov's Doctrine of Vocatio in Its Systematic Context. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

Johannes Clauberg (1622-1665)


  1. Clauberg, Johannes. 1647. Elementa Philosophiae Seu Ontosophia. Groningen.

  2. ———. 1691. Opera Omnia Philosophica. Amsterdam.

    Reprint: Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 1968 (2 volumes).

  3. ———. 2007. Logique Ancienne Et Nouvelle. Paris: Vrin.

    Traduction de la Logica Vetus et Nova (1658).

    Présentation, traduction et notes par Jacqueline Lagrée et Guillaume Coqui.


  1. Balz, Albert G.A. 1934. "Clauberg and the Development of Occasionalism." Philosophical Review no. 43:48-64.

    Reprinted in: A. G. A. Balz, Cartesian Studies, New York, Columbia University Press, 1951, pp. 158-194.

  2. Bardout, Jean-Christophe. 2002. "Johannes Clauberg." In A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy, edited by Nadler, Steven, 140-151. Malden: Blackwell.

  3. Brosch, Pius. 1926. Die Ontologie Des Johannes Clauberg. Eine Historische Würdigung Und Eine Analyse Ihrer Probleme. Greifswald: L. Bamberg.

    Inaugural Dissertation.

  4. Carraud, Vincent. 1999. "L'ontologie Peut-Elle Être Cartésienne? L'exemple De L' ontosophia De Clauberg, De 1647 À 1664: De L' ens À La Mens." In Johannes Clauberg (1622-1665) and Cartesian Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century, edited by Verbeek, Theo, 13-38. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  5. École, Jean. 1999. "La Place De La Metaphysica De Ente, Quae Rectius Ontosophia Dans L'histoire De L'ontologie Et Sa Réception Chez Christian Wolff." In Johannes Clauberg (1622-1665) and Cartesian Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century, edited by Verbeek, Theo, 61-74. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Repris dans:Hans Werner Arndt, Sonia Carboncini-Gavanelli et Jean École (eds.), Autour de la philosophie Wolffienne, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2001, pp. 117-130.

  6. Lagrée, Jacqueline. 2002. "Sens Et Vérité Chez Clauberg Et Spinoza." Philosophiques no. 29:121-138.

    "This paper aims to show how the Spinozistic hermeneutical position in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus is founded in a particular tradition, that of Johannes Clauberg, which makes a strong distinction among the sensus genuinus (i.e., the meaning intended by the author), the true meaning, and the truth. L. Meyer, a physician and friend of Spinoza, accepts this distinction but he reduces the true meaning to the truth as it is understood in the philosophy of Descartes or Spinoza. Spinoza, however, maintains the distinction between true meaning and truth, and for him the Bible keeps its holy character as long as it helps man to practice justice and charity. Human reason brings out the universal moral teachings of the Bible and it fosters a community of those who genuinely seek the truth."

  7. Mancini, Italo. 1960. "L' ontosophia Di Johannes Clauberg E I Primi Tentativi Di Soluzione Cartesiana." In Festschrift H. J. De Vleeschauwer, 66-83. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

  8. Savini, Massimiliano. 2006. "L'insertion du cartésianisme en logique: la Logica vetus & nova de Johannes Clauberg." Revue de Métaphisique et de Morale:73-88.

    "The Logica vetus & nova published by Johannes Clauberg (1654) is directly inspired by the works of Descartes. For this reason, this text is commonly considered as the first handbook of 'cartesian' logic. Which are, therefore, the Cartesian elements distinguishing this logic from the previous ones? Our aim is to show that there are two main aspects which Clauberg derives from the works of Descartes: on the one hand the foundation of logic on the perceptio clara et distincta; on the other the role of medicina mentis assumed by logic, on the basis of a philosophical theory of prejudices that has been derived from the Principia philosophiae (but also from Bacon). Clauberg's logic, anyway, does not accept the most radical innovations of Cartesian theory of knowledge: in this way it is still bound up with the scholastic tradition."

  9. ———. 2011. Johannes Clauberg. Methodus Cartesiana Et Ontologie. Paris: Vrin.

  10. Scheffel, Dieter. 1994. "Zur Grundidee Der Ontologie Bei Wolff Und Clauberg." In Aufklärung Und Erneuerung. Beiträge Zur Geschichte Der Universität Halle Im Ersten Jahrundert Ihres Bestehens (1694-1806), edited by Jerouschek, Günter and Sames, Arno, 157-162. Hanau: Dausien.

  11. Trevisani, Francesco. 1993. "Johannes Clauberg E L'aristotele Riformato." In L'interpretazione Nei Secoli Xvi E Xvii. Atti Del Convegno Internazionale Di Studi Milano (18-20 Novembre 1991) Parigi (6-8 Dicembre 1991), edited by Canziani, Guido, 103-126. Milano: Franco Angeli.

  12. Verbeek, Theo, ed. 1999. Johannes Clauberg (1622-1665) and Cartesian Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  13. Viola, Eugenio. 1975. "Scolastica E Cartesianesimo Nel Pensiero Di J. Clauberg." Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica no. 67:247-266.

  14. Weier, Winfried. 2000. "Leibnitiana Bei Johannes Clauberg." Studia Leibnitiana no. 32:21-42.

    "It is a much neglected fact that the young Leibniz expressed particular interest for the philosophy of Johannes Clauberg, a follower of Descartes with Aristotelian outlook who taught at the University of Duisburg. Indeed he found here, against the background of Cartesianism, important impulses and preconceptions for important basic positions of his, which in many respects can be understood as extensions and unfoldings of Claubergian approaches. In this way nothing less than a story of creation and development of Leibnizian thought is uncovered, e. g. from the gnoseological (symbolism of ideas; differentiation of nominal and real definitions, truths of reason and fact; the importance of real existence for the coherence of concepts) to the ontological area (the preparation of Leibnizian monadology through the question about the character of being in the innate ideas of Descartes; development of the concept of potency by means of that of facultas to that of virtus, of the petites perceptions of Leibniz and accordingly, for the first time in intellectual history, to his basic understanding of the unconscious): Further development of the anthropological question formulation through the idea of pre-established harmony."

Jakob Thomasius (1622-1684)


  1. Thomasius, Jakob. 1665. Schediasma Historicum. Leipzig.

  2. ———. 1670. Erotemata Metaphysica Pro Incipientibus. Accessit Pro Adultis Historia Variae Fortunae Quam Methaphysica Experta Est. Leipzig.

    Reprint of the second edition (Leipzig 1678) in: J. Thomasius, Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. III, edited by Walter Sparn, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2003.

  3. ———. 1670. Erotemata Logica Pro Incipientibus. Accessit Pro Adultis Processus Disputandi. Leipzig.

    Reprint of the second edition (Leipzig 1678) in: J. Thomasius, Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. II, edited by Walter Sparn, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2003.


  1. Mercer, Christia. 2004. "Leibniz and His Master: The Correspondence with Jakob Thomasius." In Leibniz and His Correspondents, edited by Lodge, Paul, 10-46. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2. Micheli, Giuseppe. 1993. "The 'Historia Philosophica' in German Scholastic Thought." In Models of the History of Philosophy. Volume I: From Its Origins in the Renaissance to the 'Historia Philosophica', edited by Santinello, Giovanni, 371-473. New York: Springer.

    On Jakob Thomasius see pp. 409-442 by Giovanni Santinello.

  3. Santinello, Giovanni. 1978. "Jakob Thomasius E Il Medioevo." Medioevo.Rivista di Storia della Filosofia Medievale no. 4:173-216.

Jean Baptiste Du Hamel (1624-1706)


  1. Du Hamel, Jean-Baptiste. 1678. Philosophia Vetus Et Nova. Paris.

    Reprint of the 1682 edition: Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2006.

    Tomus prior, qui Logicam, Metaphysicam et Philosophiam moralem complectitur.

    Tomus posterior, qui Physicam generalem et specialem tripartitam complectitur.


  1. Wells, Norman J. 1999. "Jean Du Hamel, the Cartesians and Arnauld on Idea." Modern Schoolman no. 76:245-271.

Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736)


  1. Le Clerc, Jean. 1692. Logica: Sive, Ars Ratiocinandi. [and] Ontologia; Sive De Ente in Genere. [And:] Pneumatologia Seu De Spiritibus. London.

    Reprint in: Opera philosophica in quatuor volumina digesta, Vol. I: Logica & Ontologia, Amsterdam, 1704.


  1. Pitassi, Maria Cristina. 1987. Entre Croire Et Savoir: Le Problème De La Méthode Critique Chez Jean Le Clerc. Leiden: Brill.

  2. Schuurman, Paul. 2003. "The Empiricist Logic of Ideas of Jean Le Clerc." In The Early Enlightenment in the Dutch Republic, 1650-1750, edited by Bunge, Wiep van, 137-153. Leiden: Brill.

    Selected papers of a Conference held at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel 22-23 march 2001.

  3. ———. 2003. Ideas, Mental Faculties and Method. The Logic of Ideas of Descartes and Locke and Its Reception in the Dutch Republic, 1630-1750. Leiden: Brill.

    See the chapter V: Jean le Clerc: Lockean empiricism in textbook format (1692), pp. 70-88.

Johann Franz Budde (Buddeus) (1667-1729)


  1. Budde, Johann Franz. 1703. Elementa Philosophiae Instrumentalis, Seu Institutionum Philosophiae Eclecticae. Tomus Primus. Halle.

    Reprint in: Gesammelte Schriften - Vol. I - Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 2006.

  2. ———. 1703. Elementa Philosophiae Theoreticae Seu Institutionum Philosophiae Eclecticae. Tomus Secundus. Halle.

    Reprint in: Gesammelte Schriften - Vol. II - Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 2003.

  3. ———. 1727. Isagoge Historico-Theologica Ad Theologiam Universam Singulasque Eius Partes. Leipzig.

    Reprint in the VIII volume of his Gesammelte Schriften, edited and with a preface by Leonhard Hell, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1999.


  1. Fabbianelli, Faustino. 2003. "Leibniz, Budde Et Wolff. Trois Modèles De Théodicée." Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Étranger no. 128:293-396.

    "The paper deals with the limitations of creatures, namely, more precisely the relationship between man and God amid a universe wanted by the latter. It studies the several attempts by Leibniz, Budde and then Wolff to reconcile human freedom and divine nature. Several axes of analysis are to be set in order to wander along the several patterns of those three authors, i.e. the one which traditionally opposed voluntarism to rationalism and should be contrasted as well as the one which opposes anthropology and theology."

  2. Masi, Serenella. 1977. "Eclettismo E Storia Della Filosofia in Johann Franz Budde." Memorie della Accademia delle Scienze di Torino:164-212.

    Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche. Serie V. Vol. I.

  3. Sparn, Walter. 2006. "Einleitung." In Elementa Philosophiae Instrumentalis, Seu Institutionum Philosophiae Eclecticae. Tomus Primus, I-LXII. Hildesheim: Gorg Olms.

    Johann Franz Budde, Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. I, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2006.

  4. Wundt, Max. 1945. Die Deutsche Schulphilosophie Im Zeitalter Der Aufklärung. Tübingen: Mohr.

    On Budde see pp. 63-75.

Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714-1762)

"Baumgarten's basic argument for the existence of a special faculty of sensitive cognition leads back to the core of his metaphysics. To be aware of the material perfection of the world from a finite point of view is, he held, possible only in a sensitive way that is not overwhelmed by abstractive concepts of the intellect. For Baumgarten, beauty is the observable phenomenon representing this material perfection, and the finite created mind is able to gain consciousness of it because of its original disposition to represent the reality and order of the world by clear but confused perceptions. Baumgarten elaborates a set of conditions for the 'art of thinking beautifully' ( ars pulchre cogitandi ). He hereby relies on the doctrines of 'special metaphysics': cosmology, psychology, and the discipline yielding the ultimate ground of the relation between these, namely natural theology.

In his account of metaphysics Baumgarten in general follows Wolff. The first main part is 'ontology' or 'general metaphysics'. This sets out the 'predicates of being'. Baumgarten interprets the principle of contradiction in a way which yields the basic ontological concept 'something' or simply 'thing' (ens): what is not 'A and not-A', i.e. 'nothing' ( nihil ), is 'something' ( non-nihil ). The universal connection of all things is governed by the principle of ratio and rationatum : whatsoever B exist, is founded in something other A, and at the same time there is something other C which is founded in B. The further universal predicates are unum, ordo, verum, and perfectum, traditionally called the 'transcendental' predicates of being.

Baumgarten's ontology manifests much sophistication. Yet there are profound difficulties which cannot be ignored. How, for example, can the universal predicates be compatible with each member of such disjunctive predicates as: necessary/contingent; changeable/unchangeable; real/unreal; singular/universal; total/partial; finite/infinite; simple/composed; substance/accidence? The universal and disjunctive predicates constitute the internal determination of the ens qua ens . They differ altogether from such external (or 'relative') predicates as: similar and diverse, simultaneous, successive, cause and caused, etc. The ontological predicates then furnish the basic material for most of the arguments of special metaphysics. In two points Baumgarten proves especially his independence from Wolff: in his doctrine of monads as immaterial, inextended substances; and in his doctrine of pre-established harmony in the absence of influxus physicus .

He herewith reinstitutes the genuine ideas of Leibniz, more than any other of the Wolffians."

From: Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb by Kalus E. Kaehler - in: Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology - Edited by Barry Smith Barry and Hans Burkhardt. Munich: Philosophia Verlag 1991, pp. 77-78.


  1. Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb. 1739. Metaphysica. Halle.

    Reprint of the Seventh edition (1779): Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 1969.

    English translation by Courtney D. Fugate and John Hymers: Metaphysics. A Critical Translation with Kant's Elucidations, Selected Notes, and Related Materials, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

  2. ———. 1770. Philosophia Generalis. Edidit Cum Dissertatione Prooemiali De Dubitatione Et Certitudine Johann Christian Foerster. Halle.

    Reprint: Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 1968.

  3. ———. 1998. Die Vorreden Zur Metaphysik. Frankfurt: Klostermann.

    Introduction to the First (1739), Second (1742) and Third (1749) editions of the Metaphysica edited, translated in German and annotated by Ursula Niggli.


  1. Casula, Mario. 1973. La Metafisica Di A. G. Baumgarten. Milano: Mursia.

  2. ———. 1979. "A. G. Baumgarten Entre G. W. Leibniz Et Chr. Wolff." Archives de Philosophie no. 42:547-574.

    "Historically Wolff recedes from Leibniz while Baumgarten, coming nearer to Leibniz, recedes from Wolff. If they are compared on two major issues: monadology and preestablished harmony, together with the principle of sufficient reason, concept of substance as force, concept of individual substance, it appears (as in our work on Baumgarten's metaphysics) that Baumgarten is more Leibnizian than Wolff. His metaphysics is the first Leibnizian-Wolffian philosophy; he assumes and develops, with the methodology of Wolff, the philosophy of Leibniz."

  3. Pimpinella, Pietro. 2001. " Cognitio Intuitiva in Wolff E Baumgarten." In Vernunfkritik Und Aufklärung. Studien Zur Philosophie Kants Und Seines Jahrunderts. Norbert Hinske Zum Siebzigsten Geburstag, edited by Oberhausen, Michael, Delfosse, Heinrich and Pozzo, Riccardo, 265-294. Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog.

  4. Tonelli, Giorgio. 1975. "Casula on Baumgarten's Metaphysics." Kantstudien no. 66:242-243.

    Review of Mario Casula (1973).

Christian August Crusius (1715-1775)

"Crusius, in his Entwurf der nothwendigen Vernunftwahrheiten ( Sketch of necessary rational truths; Leipzig, 1745), divided metaphysics into ontology, theology, cosmology, and pneumatology, in explicit opposition to Wolff's ordering of the metaphysical sciences.

Ontology begins, not with first principles, but with the notion of a thing in general, directly connected with the notion of a "really given thing'. Only after introducing these notions did Crusius discuss essence, existence, and causality. Crusius regarded existence as indefinable and as a primary notion arising from sensation.

In his discussion of causality, Crusius expounded a principle of determining reason, his version of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason. Crusius held, against Wolff, that a sufficient reason suffices only for free actions insofar as they are free. Rational truths and natural events not depending on free causes need a more cogent foundation, a determining reason. This principle does not derive from the principle of identity, but rather from what we must conceive or what we cannot conceive as united or separate, and thus from a new case of the principle of cogitabilitas. Crusius, aiming at a sharper distinction between mechanism and free actions, held that the real nature of causality is unknown and that our knowledge of causal connections is based on the constant conjunction of two events in experience. This, of course, cleared the path for the members of his school to accept the Humean critique of the causal connection.

Crusius's ontology reveals a general characteristic of his metaphysics. His was not a monolithic system beginning with a single principle and deducing from it all subsequent notions and propositions, as was Wolff's. Rather, it was founded both on several independent principles and on a multitude of elementary notions that could be defined only by an appeal to reality (by their concrete representation)--notions such as existence, space, time, and force; or, in psychology, the particular powers of the soul, some mental faculties, and pleasure and pain. Through Hoffman Crusius derived this view from Locke's doctrine of simple ideas, but he supposed that the number of elementary notions (which he once called categories) could be infinite."

From: Giorgio Tonelli - Crusius, Christian August. In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edwards Paul. New York: Macmillan 1967. Vol 2, pp. 268-271.


  1. Crusius, Christian August. 1964. Die Philosophische Hauptwerke. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

    The main philosophical works, edited by Giorgio Tonelli in 4 volumes.

  2. ———. 1964. Entwurf Der Nothwendigen Vernunft-Wahrheiten, Wiefern Sie Den Zufällligen Entgegen Gesetzt Werden. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

    Vol. 2: Sketch of the necessary truths of reason, insofar as they are opposed to contingent truths. Reprint of the edition published at Leipzig in 1775, (948 pages) [The metaphysical work].

  3. ———. 1965. Weg Zur Gewissheit Und Zuverlässigkeit Der Menschlichen Erkenntnis. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

    Vol. 3: The way to the certainty and dependability of human knowledge. Reprint of the edition published at Leipzig in 1747, (1132 pages) [The logical work].

  4. ———. 1969. Anweisung Vernunftig Zu Leben: Darinnen Nach Erklarung Der Natur Des Menschlichen Willens Die Naturlichen Pflichten Und Allgemeinen Klugsheitslehren Im Richtigen Zusammenhange Vorgetragen Werden. Hildesheim: Goerg Olms.

    Vol. 1: Guide to rational living. Reprint of the edition published at Leipzig in 1744, with an introduction by Giorgio Tonelli (LXIV, 886 pages) [The ethical work].

  5. ———. 1987. Kleinere Philosophische Schriften. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

    Vol. 4.1: Minor philosophical writings. Reprint of the edition published at Leipzig in 1749, (Edited by Sonia Carboncini and Reinhard Finster, with an introduction by Sonia Carboncini, XXXVI, 695 pages).


  1. Beck, Lewis White. 1969. Early German Philosophy. Kant and His Predecessors. Cambridge: Belknap Press.

    Chapter XVI: On the threshold of the critical philosophy. Crusius pp. 394-402.

  2. Carboncini, Sonia. 1986. "Christian August Crusius Und Die Leibniz-Wolffsche Philosophie." In Beiträge Zur Wirkungs- Und Rezeptionsgeschichte Von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, edited by Heinekamp, Albert, 110-125. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.

    Studia Leibnitiana vol. 26.

  3. Fabbianelli, Faustino. 2004. "Christian August Crusius: I Presupposti Metafisici." Rivista di Storia della Filosofia no. 59:737-744.

  4. Heimsoeth, Heinz. 1956. "Metaphysik Und Kritik Bei Chr. A. Crusius. Ein Beitrag Zur Ontologischen Vorgeschichte Der Kritik Der Reinen Vernunft Im 18. Jahrhundert." In Studien Zur Philosophie Immanuel Kants. Metaphysische Ursprünge Und Ontologische Grundlagen, 125-188. Köln: Kölner Universitätsverlag.

    Originally published in 1926.

  5. Koriako, Darius. 1999. "Crusius Über Unmöglichkeit Einer Letztbegründung Der Logik." Studia Leibnitiana.Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Philosophie und der Wissenschaften no. 31:99-108.

    "In this paper we examine some passages of a logical treatise by Christian August Crusius. It seems that Crusius anticipated what might be called the circle of deduction, first discussed by Lewis Carroll.

    The question now emerges: why was it possible for Crusius to have deeper logical insights than his contemporaries, given that he was not a brilliant logician? The answer here proposed traces these insights back to his very peculiar philosophical premisses, which have been important for Kant's development in his early career."

  6. Krieger, Martin. 1993. Geist, Welt Und Gott Bei Christian August Crusius. Erkenntnistheoretisch-Psychologische Perspektiven Im Kontrast Zum Wolffschen System. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.

  7. Tonelli, Giorgio. 1967. "Crusius, Christian August." In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Paul, Edwards, Vol. 2, 268-271. New York: Macmillan.

    Vol. 2.

Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728-1777)

"A. Simple concepts. Simple, or fundamental, concepts ( Grundbegriffe) are a subclass of empirical concepts ( Erfahrungsbegriffe) and must be found by the Lockean method of collecting and inspecting ( Musterung) examples. But whereas empirical concepts may be erroneous (i.e., may have no object corresponding to them) and give only a mere delusory appearance of things, the fundamental concepts are derived from the experience of the sensu interno and must be granted even by the skeptic (the solipsist, der Egoist) who denies the existence of everything except himself and his experience.(45) The simple concepts can only be ostensively defined, not nominally. They can appear as predicates in a judgment whose subject is a complex empirical concept; but in this case the subject can be analyzed into simple concepts, and the original judgment will thereby be resolved into tautologies ("white is white"), simple negative propositions like Locke's intuited disagreements of ideas ("white is not black"), or relational propositions (such as "space has length, breadth, and height" or "motion has velocity and direction") .(46)

B. Combinations of simple concepts. Our knowledge of such propositions is a priori, for though experience is necessary if we are to have the concepts, we do not have to experience their combinations to see the truth of the propositions.(47) The various sciences are based upon some of the simple concepts (for example, geometry on that of space, chronometry on that of time, phoronomy on space and time, "agathology" on the concept of good), and Lambert builds up large and elaborate tables showing what simple concepts are involved in each of the branches of science and philosophy.(48)

But while Lambert is clear in his theory of simple concepts, his theory of their combination is no more satisfactory than that of Crusius. Lambert uses a weaker form of Crusius' criterion of what can or cannot be thought together, calling it the criterion of "thinkability" ( Gedenkbarkeit). But while thinkability is a test for a concept, something stronger is needed as a test for judgment; "not to be thought apart," or "must be thought together" as Crusius would say, are needed. This criterion of thinkability, or inseparability, applies to propositions whose predicate is included in the subject, as Leibniz thought; but obviously it will not work for that reason on propositions connecting simple subjects and predicates. Lambert sometimes appeals to the law of contradiction, which in turn is based upon the incredibility ( nicht-glauben-lassen) of contradictions(49) and sometimes to

the mere possibility of thinking a combination of ideas under maxim that "cogitabile is equal to possibile."(50) But if Gedenkbarkeit is too weak a test, the law of contradiction is too stringent, and Lambert must rightly confess that the "fons possibilitatis duos ideas combinandi has not been fully discovered."(51) It was to remain hidden until Kant clearly distinguished the synthetic a priori from the analytic; and to explain the kind of combinations Lambert and Crusius were concerned with required the whole labor of the Critique of Pure Reason.

The total system of all the simple concepts and their permissible combinations constitutes what Lambert calls the realm of truth.(52) It is equally the object of logic (i.e., the science of reason, Vernunftlehre) and ontology, which is therefore completely a priori, since it deals with objects only insofar as they are possible. Still, Lambert does not wish the realm of truth to be defined solely in formal terms as a set of non-contradictory propositions having simple concepts as their subjects. He speaks rather of a harmony(53) reigning in the realm of truth. Harmony is what later in the history of philosophy will be called "coherence." Each proposition in the system is not only consistent with all the others, but harmonizes with it in some more intimate fashion, supporting and being supported by all the others. Every erroneous proposition can be discovered by a stepwise process (Schritt für Schritt, as Lambert liked to say) of testing it against each of the others; but since every proposition is ultimately reducible to simple concepts which are always logically true, every error contains some truth which we are to discover by analysis. The most harmonious system is, by definition, the logically true system: wholly unified, with no contingencies, and completely comprehensive. Any lacuna is a warning, and any dissonance a sign of error.(54)"

(45) Criterium veritatis §§ 45, 80; Methode, Notanda § 14 and §5 36; Neues Organon I, §§ 653-656.

(46) N eues Organon I §§ 656, 659; II,, §§ 32, 33, 72, 73.

(47) Ibid., I, §§ 634-644, 656-657.

(48) "Table of the simple conceptual correlates of fundamental disciplines," Architektonic § 53.

(49) Neues Organon, II, § 162; Architektonic, 5 273.

(5o) Methode, Notanda 5 19, A.

(51) Ibid., p,

(52) Architektonic §§ 229, 231, 273; Methode, §§ 23-25; but the term is not used in the Criterium veritatis.

(53) Compare Neues Organon I S§662 and II §§ 160-161 with II, § 180.

(54) Ibid., II, §§ 191-240.

From: Beck Lewis White. Early German Philosophy. Kant and his Predecessors. Cambridge: Belknap Press 1969, pp. 406-407.


  1. Lambert, Johann Heinrich. 1764. Neues Organon. Leipzig.

    Anastatic reprint by H.-W. Arndt in Philosophische Schriften voll. 1-2.

    Italian translation by Raffaele Ciafardone: Nuovo organo, Bari: Laterza 1977.

    English translation of selected passages in: Eric Watkins, Kant's Critique of Pure rason, Background Source Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 257-274.

    The work is divide in four parts: I. Dianoiology, the laws of thought; II. Alethiology, the doctrine of truth; III. Semiotic, the doctrine of signs; 4. Phenomenology, the doctrine of appearances.

  2. ———. 1771. Anlage Zur Architektonik Oder Theorie Des Einfachen Und Ersten in Der Philosophischen Und Mathematischen Erkenntniss. Riga.

    Anastatic reprint by H.-W. Arndt in Philosophische Schriften voll. 3-4.

    Italian translation by Raffaele Ciafardone: Disegno dell'architettonica, o teoria del semplice e del primo nella conoscenza filosofica e nella conoscenza matematica, Napoli: Ortothes, 2012.

  3. ———. 1915. "Abhandlung Vom Criterium Veritatis (1761)." Kant-Studien no. 36:7-64.

    First postumhous edition by Karl Bopp; partial English translation in: Eric Watkins, Kant's Critique of Pure rason, Background Source Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 233-257.

  4. ———. 1918. "Über Die Methode, Die Metaphysik, Theologie Und Moral Richtiger Zu Beweisen (1762)." Kant-Studien no. 42:1-36.

    First postumhous edition by Karl Bopp.

  5. ———. 1965. Philosophische Schriften. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

    Anastatic reprint of the editions Leipzig, 1764 (v. I-II); Riga, 1771 (v. III-IV); Berlin 1782-87 (v. VI-VII, IX) by Hans-Werner Arndt; v. X: Entwürfe und Rezensionen aus dem Nachlaß (in three tomes, with an Introduction by A. Emmel and A. Spree, edited by Lothar Kreimendahl, 2008.


  1. Colloque International Et Interdisciplinaire Jean-Henri Lambert, Mulhouse, 26-30 Septembre 1977. 1979. Paris: Ophrys.

  2. Basso, Paola. 1999. Filosofia E Geometria. Lambert Interprete Di Euclide. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.

  3. Bokhove, Niels W. 1991. 'Phänomenologie': Ursprung Und Hintergrund Des Terminus Im 18. Jahrhundert, University of Utrecht.

    Distributed by Scientia Verlag (Aalen), 1992.

    Review by Ignacio Angelelli, Review of Metaphysics, 47 (1993) pp. 360-62.

    The Third Part is dedicated to the "Development of the term 'phenomenology' in the Eighteenth century" through the detailed study of four authors: Friedrich Christoph Oetinger (1702-1782), Lambert (pp. 191-231), Kant, and John Robison (1739-1805).

  4. Ciafardone, Raffaele. 1975. J. H. Lambert E La Fondazione Scientifica Della Filosofia. Urbino: Argalia.

  5. Debru, Claude. 1977. Analyse Et Représentation. De La Méthodologie À La Théorie De L'espace: Kant Et Lambert. Paris: Vrin.

  6. Laywine, Alison. 2010. "Kant and Lambert on Geometrical Postulates in the Reform of Metaphysics." In Discourse on a New Method. Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science, edited by May, Domski and Michael, Dickson, 113-133. Chicago: Open Court.

  7. Preite, Maria dello. 1979. L'immagine Scientifica Del Mondo Di Johann Heinrich Lambert. Razionalità Ed Esperienza. Bari: Dedalo.

  8. Schiewer Gesine, Lenoire. 1996. Cognitio Symbolica. Lamberts Semiotische Wissenschaft Und Ihre Diskussion Bei Herder, Jean-Paul Und Novalis. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

  9. Todesco, Fabio. 1987. Riforma Della Metafisica E Sapere Scientifico. Saggio Su J. H. Lambert (1728-1777). Milano: Franco Angeli.

    Bibliografia lambertiana (1944-1987): pp. 257-326.

  10. Wolters, Gereon. 1980. Basis Und Deduktion. Studien Zur Entstehung Und Bedeutung Der Theorie Der Axiomatischen Methode Bei J. H. Lambert (1728-1777). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  11. ———. 1985. "Some Pragmatic Aspects of the Methodology of Johann Heinrich Lambert." In Change and Progress in Modern Science. Papers Related to and Arising from the Fourth International Conference on History and Philosophy of Science, Blacksburg, Virginia, November 1982, edited by Pitt, Joseph C., 133-170. Dordrecht: Reidel.