An essay on the origin of human knowledge: being a supplement to Mr. Locke's Essay on the human understanding

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Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1971 - Philosophy - 339 pages
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This codification of Locke's theories influenced Bentham, Spencer, & the Mills.

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About the author (1971)

Born in Grenoble, France, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac studied theology at Saint-Sulpice and the Sorbonne and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1740. He was, however, always less interested in pursuing his sacred calling than in the advancement of secular knowledge. In this he was supported and encouraged by his cousin, the philosopher Jean le Rond d'Alembert, who introduced him to the circle of the encyclopedists. Condillac set out to develop an experience-centered epistemology founded on sensation, modeled on Locke's genetic account of human knowledge and on the mechanistic paradigm of science embodied in nineteenth-century Newtonian physics. The result was that, along with Hume, Condillac invented modern empiricism. His first works were A Treatise on Systems and An Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge (both 1746). The former was a critique of traditional metaphysicians and the latter a positive statement of Condillac's sensationalist psychology and epistemology. Condillac composed his most influential work, the Treatise on Sensations (1754), in which he attempted to explain how through sensation the mind naturally arrives at the ideas of independent material objects. His later writings include Commerce and Government (1776), a defense of physiocratic doctrines, and the posthumously published Logic (1792).

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