Darjes is quickly becoming one of the most interesting second-generation Wolffians. In his logical works he has shown himself to have an analytical mind with an ability to make clear and still profound distinctions, has manifested extensive historical knowledge of such then rarely mentioned things like the medieval theory of supposition, and finally, has been quite original, for instance, in his metaphysical reading of predication. It will be interesting to see whether this positive view will continue through the first part of his metaphysical work, Elementa metaphysices.
As metaphysics is in the heavy core of philosophy, I will use several articles to go through in more detail what Darjes had to say about its many facets. I shall begin by asking what he himself considered to be the nature of metaphysics. We find an interestingly original take already in Darjes' view on the nature of philosophy. While previous Wolffians had either emphasised the object of philosophy – e.g. happiness – or then saw the essence of philosophy in finding reasons, for Darjes philosophy is all about abstracting. In other words, Darjes does not think philosophy or science is about explaining things, but about describing their general features.
Darjesian definition of metaphysics seems more in line with the Wolffian tradition. Its topic, Darjes says, are possible objects and the primary genera to which the possible objects divide into. Metaphysics then divides naturally into two different disciplines – ontology as the study of possible objects as such and special metaphysics as the study of primary genera of possible objects.
Thus far the division of metaphysics with Darjes doesn't seem surprising, but when it comes to special metaphysics, Darjes introduces some interesting novelties. Like with many Wolffians, for Darjes basic division of things was into simple and composite things. Darjes found from this division two primary parts of special metaphysics – monadology and somatology. This was already a bit of a novelty, since this division did not completely correspond with the usual division into cosmology on the one hand, psychology and natural theology on the other hand. While e.g. Wolff's cosmology contained a study of elements, in Darjesian division elements as simple objects were a topic to be handled in monadology – they formed the topic of monadology proper.
In addition to monadology proper, Darjes divided monadology into psychology – study of souls – and something called pneumatology – study of spirits – where both souls and spirits were not elements of bodies. We will have to consider the full import of this division later, but at least the pneumatology should contain natural theology as the study of infinite spirit, while finite spirits should be the topic of pneumatology proper. Just like other Wolffians, Darjes suggests that psychology should have an emprical side, because experiences are our only route to some capacities of souls. Darjes also extends this demand to pneumatology, which should have its own experimental side.
The main difference from other Wolffians is the lack of world as a proper topic of metaphysics. Indeed, this is quite logical, since world is not a primary genera of entities, but a collection of some of them – bodies form a corporeal world, while souls and spirits together form a moral world and both of them together a transcendental world or the world in the most extensive sense.
Next time, I shall begin with Darjesian primary philosophy, which strangely isn't identical with ontology and wasn't included in Darjes's division of metaphysics.