Charles Bonnet and the Order of the Known
Charles Bonnet began his career as a naturalist, from an early age establishing a reputation as a careful observer. It is for those youthful observations, as well as for some suggestive speculations proposed relative to this field, that he is best remembered in English-speaking countries: regarding the taxonomic de mands of natural history he refurbished the idea of a chain of beings; regarding the question of generation he marshaled evidence in support of preforma tion theory; and regarding the analysis of the physiology of the nervous system he advanced a theory that individual nerve fibers receive and retain specific sensations. Following his loss of eyesight in his mid-twenties Bonnet entered a more reflective period, turning to philosophy and pondering the nature of human understanding - considerations he had formerly disdained, but that now seemed a natural outgrowth of his reflections on nature. This essay focuses on the philosophical and psychological works of the later period, the period in which he wrote all his major books. By giving these writings a broader exposure it has been one of my hopes that Bonnet's audience would also be broadened, releasing him, so to speak, from the charge of historians of science so that he might fmd his way, in general books on the "Enlightenment", from scattered footnotes into the texts themselves.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Signs and Ideas
5 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
abstract according activities analysis animals appears apperceives arbitrary sign arrangement body Bonnet's thought brain Buffon capacity chain Chapter Charles Bonnet concept concern Condillac connection consequently constitutes Contemplation Cramer derives determinations dispositions eighteenth century entirely epigenesis epistemological Essai analytique Essai de psychologie everything faculties Foucault function Grammaire habit Haller Helvetius human I'origine Ibid impressions individual John Locke knowledge laws Leibniz Locke Locke's logic Logique means mechanism Meditations Memoires memory method Michel Foucault mind moral movements natural history natural sign nerve fibers never notion object observation Oeuvres operations Order of Things organized origin of language Palingenesie particular perceptions perfection personality Philalethe philosophy physical physiology Port-Royal preexisting germs preformation preformationist present principle of continuity problem question rational reason Reaumur reflective represent representation result Rousseau Savioz sensations sense sensible ideas sentient sentiment soul soul's species speculations structure taxonomy Theodicy theory tion understanding unity universal