Sources:

Die Leibniz-Handschriften der Königlichen Öffentlichen Bibliothek
Eduard Bodemann (ed)
pp 58-59

Sämtliche schriften und briefe series VI volume 4
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
pp 1473-1474



Date: 1683 - 1685?

Translated from the Latin



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LEIBNIZ: ON CONSCIOUSNESS AND MEMORY


[BH p58] [A VI 4, p1473]

     Consciousness is memory of our actions. Descartes therefore holds that there can be no trust in a demonstration, because every demonstration requires memory of preceding propositions, in which it could be the case that we were perhaps deceived by the power of some evil genius. But if we prolong the pretext of doubting to this point, we cannot even trust our consciousness of the present, because memory is always involved, since nothing exists, absolutely speaking, except for the present moment.
     Writings or notes assist the memory with regard to demonstrating, and nothing better confirms that there is no evil genius who should deceive us into falsifying even those things than success or a successful outcome, into which the confidence of all our certainty is ultimately resolved; [BH p59] otherwise a clear dream cannot be definitely distinguished from wakefulness.

[A VI 4, p1474]

     Consciousness of vision, of appearance, of pleasure and of pain is given; consciousness of truth, of certainty, of justice or of all those things which must be deduced, is not given, and therefore one cannot be certain about them.


© Lloyd Strickland 2005
With gratitude to John Thorley for advice and suggestions