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A Wolff in Kant’s Clothing: Christian Wolff’s Influence on Kant’s Accounts of Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Psychology

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Abstract

In attempts to come to grips with Kant’s thought, the influence of the philosophy of Christian Wolff (1679–1754) is often neglected. In this paper, I consider three topics related to Kant’s philosophy of mind, broadly construed, where Wolff’s influence is particularly visible, namely, consciousness, self-consciousness, and the doctrine of the soul or psychology. I argue that within this context we can better understand Kant’s particular arguments and positions, and gain a more accurate sense of which aspects of Kant’s accounts derive from the antecedent traditions and which constitute genuine philosophical innovations.

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