Sämtliche schriften und briefe series VI volume 4
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
Date: October 1677 - December 1678 (?)
Translated from the Latin
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MIND, BODY AND SOUL
FREE WILL AND NECESSITY
POLITICS, LAW AND ETHICS
LEIBNIZ: ON DISTINCT PERCEPTION
[A VI 4, p58]
We perceive distinctly that whose parts or attributes we perceive as pertaining to it, for example, when a man is before us, we perceive his face, and at the same time we think that the face pertains to this man. Otherwise, when we cast our eyes into a crowd, we perceive individual men and the faces of the individuals turned toward us, but we do so confusedly. And when we hear a far-off sound of rushing water, we hear the noise of a great many waves, for there is no reason why we should hear the sound of one rather than that of another; and if we did not hear the sound of any, we would not hear anything; but this perception is confused.
Therefore a distinct perception occurs while we attribute something similar of ourselves to things, for we know that we are a subject of various attributes, and so in a similar way we consider objects as certain substances or things. And a distinct perception is that which occurs together with some judgement without affirmation and negation. Thought is distinct imagination.
© Lloyd Strickland 2007