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The Rise of Controversies and the Function of Impartiality in the Early Eighteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

Thomasius explicitly stresses the 'Gemüths-Ruhe', the calmness of the scholar, in his remarks on the dedication. The more intensely Thomasius's enemies oppose his arguments, the more he is convinced that he is right. Notwithstanding the rhetorical craftiness, Thomasius demonstrates here in dedicating his book to his enemies, heralding the satirical style of what will follow, he also takes into consideration the Epicurean idea that processes of cognition depend on more than the ideal of rational cognition. The state of mind of thinkers, their affects and their prejudices and, ultimately, their corrupt will, explicitly play a decisive role in shaping the process of finding truth and of cultivating the self. Thomasius implicitly substitutes academic discussion for a specific kind of non-academic, or, to be precise, partly extra-academic controversy. Impartiality leads to mildness, to the containment of affects, and guarantees a reliable judgement.

Keywords: Epicurean idea; extra-academic controversy; Gemüths-Ruhe; Thomasius



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