Leibniz' Theory of Perception Reconsidered

  • Zhaolu Lu


A developmental review of cognitive science and philosophy of cognition reveals that over the sixty years since cognitive science began Leibniz’ theory of perception has been largely ignored. It has been systematically overlooked that Leibniz offers an insightful theory of perception from the rationalist perspective. Although programs and projects in cognitive studies have been conducted primarily in the empiricist framework, rationalist perspective has become increasingly demanding. A review of literature on Leibniz’ theory of perception reveals that there exist significant amount of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Leibniz’ theory of perception. This paper introduces and clarifies Leibniz’ theory of perception through criticisms against M. Kulstad's claim that Leibniz’ theory of perception is inconsistent with several important doctrines of his philosophical system, which is M. Kulstad’s paper “Some Difficulties in Leibniz’ Definition of Perception” is a salient example and representative work that embodies Leibniz’ theory of perception is entirely ignored.