Luigi Cataldi Madonna

The Rediscovery of Christian Wolff. Attempting an Assessment

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Informations and abstract

Keywords: Christian Wolff's Philosophy, Wolff-Studies, Enlightenment

The paper focuses on the recent growth of Wolff-studies. In the late two decades has occurred a representative increase of interest for Christian Wolff's philosophy. Nevertheless a sample analysis of the Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie reveals that this renewed "discovery" is still dominated by the old cliché that reads Wolff as a dogmatic rationalist or as a simple populariser of Leibniz' philosophy. This opinion crumbles by recognizing, for instance, the centrality of Wolff's psychology - as the most of the recent studies do. The paper suggests eight directions that should be followed to improve such a "rediscovery": 1) a more accurate exploration of Wolffian sources; 2) a more precise exploration of Wolff's influence during his life; 3) the necessity to give up the obsession for his comparison with Kant; 4) a critical edition of the correspondence as well as a proper examination of Wolff's reviews; 5) the publication of a general subject-index of Wolff's works; 6) the necessity of a radical suspicion towards the traditional historical categorization of Wolff; 7) the promotion of a Wolff-philology; 8) a comparison of Wolff's philosophy with contemporary philosophical subjects.

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