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Encyclopedia > Étienne Bonnot de Condillac
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Etienne Bonnot de Condillac.

Étienne Bonnot de Condillac ( September 30 is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 92 days remaining, as the final day of September. Events 1399 - Henry IV is proclaimed King of England. 1452 - First printed book, the Johann Gutenberg Bible. 1867 - United States takes control of... September 30, Events September 1 - King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years, leaving the throne of his exhausted and indebted country to his great-grandson Louis XV. Regent for the new, five years old monarch is Philippe dOrléans, nephew of Louis XIV. September - First of... 1715 - August 3 is the 215th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (216th in leap years), with 150 days remaining. Events 1400-1899 1492 - Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain. 1492 - The Jews were expelled from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs. 1645 - The Second Battle... August 3, Events January 16 - Sweden, and Russia. March 26 - The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor, the first Sunday newspaper in Britain May 12 - American Revolutionary War: Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces. August 16 - American Revolutionary War: Battle of Camden - The British defeat the Americans near Camden, South Carolina... 1780) was a The French Republic or France ( French: République française or France) is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in western Europe, and which is further made up of a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. France is a democracy organised as a... French A philosopher is a person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy. The word, philosopher, literally means lover of wisdom. Popular Western philosophers in (approximate) historical order Not listed above: (some of) The Presocratics -- Epicurus place after Aristotle --Hellenistic Philosophers -- Cicero -- Avicenna -- Sir Thomas Browne -- Francis Bacon -- Thomas Reid... philosopher.


He was born at View of Grenoble, 2002, with the snowy peaks of the Dauphiné Alps Location within France Grenoble ( Occitan: Grasanòbol) is a city and commune in south-east France, situated at the foot of the Alps, at the confluence of the Drac into the Isère River. Located... Grenoble of a legal family, and, like his elder brother, the well-known political writer, abbé de Mably, took holy orders and became abbé de Mureau.

In both cases the profession was hardly more than nominal, and Condillac's whole life, with the exception of an interval as tutor at the court of Parma, was devoted to speculation. His works are Essai sur l'origine des connaissances humaines (1746), Traité des systèmes (1749), Traité des sensations (1754), Traité des animaux (1755), a comprehensive Cours d'études (1767-1773) in 13 vols., written for the young Duke Ferdinand of Parma, a grandson of Louis XV King of France and Navarre Louis XV (February 15, 1710 - May 10, 1774), called the Well-Beloved (French: le Bien-Aimé), was king of France from 1715 to 1774. Miraculously surviving the death of his entire family, he was beloved by Frenchmen in the beginning of his reign... Louis XV, Le Commerce et le gouvernement, considérés relativement l'un a l'autre (1776), and two posthumous works, Logique (1781) and the unfinished Langue des calculs (1798).

In his earlier days in The Eiffel Tower has become the symbol of Paris throughout the world. Paris is the capital city of France, as well as the capital of the Île-de-France région, whose territory encompasses Paris and its suburbs. The city of Paris proper is also a dé... Paris he came much into contact with the circle of Denis Diderot Denis Diderot ( October 5, 1713 - July 31, 1784) was a French writer and philosopher. Born in Langres, Champagne, France in 1713, he was a prominent figure in what became known as the Enlightenment, and was the editor-in-chief of the famous Encyclopédie. Diderot also contributed... Diderot. A friendship with Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 - July 2, 1778) was a Swiss-French philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment Biography of Rousseau The tomb of Rousseau in the crypt of the Panth on, Paris Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland... Rousseau, which lasted in some measure to the end, may have been due in the first instance to the fact that Rousseau had been domestic tutor in the family of Condillac's uncle, M. de Mably, at This article is about the French city. For other usages, see Lyon (disambiguation) and (as Lyons) Lyons (disambiguation). City motto: Avant, avant, Lion le melhor. (Franco-Provençal: Forward, forward, Lyon the best) City proper ( commune) Région Rhône-Alpes Département Rhône... Lyon. Thanks to his natural caution and reserve, Condillac's relations with unorthodox philosophers did not injure his career; and he justified abundantly the choice of the French court in sending him to Parma is a medieval city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, with splendid architecture and a fine countryside around it. The city was most probably founded and named by the Etruscans, for a parma (circular shield) was a Latin borrowing, as were many Roman terms for particular arms, and... Parma to educate the orphan duke, then a child of seven years.

In Events January 9 - Philip Astley stages the first modern circus (London) May 10 - John Wilkes is imprisoned for writing an article for the North Briton severely criticizing King George III. This action provokes rioting in London Secretary of State for colonies appointed in Britain Massachusetts Assembly dissolved for refusing to... 1768, on his return from Italy, he was elected to the The Académie française, or French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution... Académie française, but attended, no meeting after his reception. He spent his later years in retirement at Flux, a small property which he had purchased near Beaugency, and died there on August 3, 1780.

Works and legacy

Though Condillac's genius was not of the highest order, he is important both as a A psychologist is a researcher and/or a practitioner of psychology. Psychology is now considered a separate field from psychiatry, and a psychologist is not ordinarily a medical doctor and hence is unable to prescribe psychiatric medications. They are specially trained to provide professional counseling on psychological and emotional issues... psychologist and as having established systematically in France the principles of For other people by this name see John Locke (disambiguation) John Locke John Locke (August 29, 1632 — October 28, 1704) was a 17th century philosopher concerned primarily with society and epistemology. An Englishman, Lockes notions of a government with the consent of the governed and mans natural... Locke, whom Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694—May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher. Biography Voltaire was born in Paris to François Arouet and Marie-Marguerite Daumart or DAumard. Both parents were of Poitevin extraction... Voltaire had lately made fashionable. In setting forth his empirical sensationism, Condillac shows many of the best qualities of his age and nation, lucidity, brevity, moderation and an earnest striving after logical method. Unfortunately it must be said of him as of so many of his contemporaries, "er hat die Theile in seiner Hand, fehlt leider nur det geistiger Band"; in the analysis of the human mind on which his fame chiefly rests, he has missed out the active and spiritual side of human experience.

His first book, the Essai sur l'origine des connaissances humaines, keeps close to his English master. He accepts with some indecision Locke's deduction of our knowledge from two sources, sensation and reflection, and uses as his main principle of explanation the association of ideas. His next book, the Traité des systèmes, is a vigorous criticism of those modern systems which are based upon abstract principles or upon unsound hypotheses. His polemic, which is inspired throughout with the spirit of Locke, is directed against the innate ideas of the René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. While most notable for his groundbreaking work in philosophy, he has achieved wide fame as the inventor of the Cartesian coordinate system, which influenced the development of modern... Cartesians, Nicolas Malebranche (August 6, 1638 – October 13, 1715) was a French philosopher of the Cartesian school. The youngest child of Nicolas Malebranche, secretary to King Louis XIII of France, and Catherine de Lauzon, sister of a viceroy of Canada, was born in Paris. Deformed and frail, he received his... Malebranche's faculty--psychology, Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (July 1, 1646 in Leipzig - November 14, 1716 in Hannover) was a German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, diplomat, librarian, and lawyer of Sorb descent. Leibniz is credited with the term function (1694), which he used to describe a quantity related to a curve; such as... Leibniz's The word monad comes from the Greek word μονάς (from the word μόνος, which means one, single, unique) and has had many meanings in different contexts: Among the Pythagoreans (followers of Pythagoras) the monad was the first thing that came into existence... monadism and preestablished harmony, and, above all, against the conception of substance set forth in the first part of the Ethics of Baruch Spinoza Benedictus de Spinoza ( November 24, 1632 – February 21, 1677), named Baruch Spinoza by his synagogue elders and known as Bento de Spinoza or Bento dEspiñoza in the community in which he grew up. Along with René Descartes and Gottfried Leibniz, he was one... Spinoza.

By far the most important of his works is the Traité des sensations, in which he emancipates himself from the tutelage of Locke and treats psychology in his own characteristic way. He had been led, he tells us, partly by the criticism of a talented lady, Mademoiselle Ferrand, to question Locke's doctrine that the senses give us intuitive knowledge of objects, that the eye, for example, naturally judges shapes, sizes, positions and distances. His discussions with the lady had convinced him that to clear up such questions it was necessary to study our senses separately, to distinguish precisely what ideas we owe to each sense, to observe how the senses are trained, and how one sense aids another. The result, he was confident, would show that all human faculty and knowledge are transformed sensation only, to the exclusion of any other principle, such as reflection.

The plan of the book is that the author imagines a statue organized inwardly like a man, animated by a soul which has never received an idea, into which no sense-impression has ever penetrated. He then unlocks its senses one by one, beginning with smell, as the sense that contributes least to human knowledge. At its first experience of smell, the consciousness of the statue is entirely occupied by it; and this occupancy of consciousness is attention. The statue's smell-experience will produce pleasure or pain; and pleasure and pain will thenceforward be the master-principle which, determining all the operations of its mind, will raise it by degrees to all the knowledge of which it is capable. The next stage is memory, which is the lingering impression of the smellexperience upon the attention: "memory is nothing more than a mode of feeling." From memory springs comparison: the statue experiences the smell, say, of a rose, while remembering that of a carnation; and "comparison is nothing more than giving one's attention to two things simultaneously." And "as soon as the statue has comparison it has judgment." Comparisons and judgments become habitual, are stored in the mind and formed into series, and thus arises the powerful principle of the association of ideas. From comparison of past and present experiences in respect of their pleasure-giving quality arises desire; it is desire that determines the operation of our faculties, stimulates the memory and imagination, and gives rise to the passions. The passiofis, also, are nothing but sensation transformed.

These indications will suffice to show the general course of the argument in the first section of the Traité des sensations. To show the thoroughness of the treatment it will be enough to quote the headings of the chief remaining chapters: "Of the Ideas of a Man limited to the Sense of Smell," "Of a Man limited to the Sense of Hearing," "Of Smell and Hearing combined," "Of Taste by itself, and of Taste combined with Smell and Hearing," "Of a Man limited to the Sense of Sight."

In the second section of the treatise Condillac invests his statue with the sense of touch, which first informs it of the existence of external objects. In a very careful and elaborate analysis, he distinguishes the various elements in our tactile experiences-the touching of one's own body, the touching of objects other than one's own body, the experience of movement, the exploration of surfaces by the hands: he traces the growth of the statue's perceptions of extension, distance and shape. The third section deals with the combination of touch with the other senses. The fourth section deals with the desires, activities and ideas of an isolated man who enjoys possession of all the senses; and ends with observations on a "wild boy" who was found living among bears in the forests of The Republic of Lithuania (in Lithuanian, Lietuva) is a republic in Northeastern Europe. One of the three Baltic States along the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with fellow Baltic State Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland to the south, and the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the... Lithuania.

The conclusion of the whole work is that in the natural order of things everything has its source in sensation, and yet that this source is not equally abundant in all men; men differ greatly in the degree of vividness with which they feel; and, finally, that man is nothing but what he has acquired; all innate faculties and ideas are to be swept away. The last dictum suggests the difference that has been made to this manner of psychologizing by modern theories of evolution and heredity.

Condillac's work on politics and history, contained, for the most part, in his Cours d'études, offers few features of interest, except so far as it illustrates his close affinity to English thought: he had not the warmth and imagination to make a good historian. In Logic (from ancient Greek λόγος (logos), meaning reason) is the study of arguments. Its primary task is to set up criteria for distinguishing good from bad arguments. Arguments express inferences—the processes whereby new assertions are produced from already established ones. As such, of particular... logic, on which he wrote extensively, he is far less successful than in psychology. He enlarges with much iteration, but with few con~rete examples, upon the supremacy of the analytic method; argues that reasoning consists in the substitution of one proposition for another which is identical with it; and lays it down that science is the same thing as a well-constructed language, a proposition which in his Langue des calculs he tries to prove by the example of arithmetic. His logic has in fact the good and bad points that we might expect to find in a sensationist who knows no science but mathematics. He rejects the medieval apparatus of the syllogism; but is precluded by his standpoint from understanding the active, spiritual character of thought; nor had he that interest in natural science and appreciation of inductive reasoning which form the chief merit of John Stuart Mill (May 20, 1806 - May 8, 1873), aka JS Mill, an English philosopher and political economist, was the most influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an advocate of utilitarianism, the ethical theory first proposed by his godfather Jeremy Bentham. Biography John Stuart Mill was born... JS Mill. It is obvious enough that Condillac's anti-spiritual psychology, with its explanation of personality as an aggregate of sensations, leads straight to atheism and determinism. There is, however, no reason to question the sincerity with which he repudiates both these consequences. What he says upon religion is always in harmony with his profession; and he vindicated the freedom of the will in a dissertation that has very little in common with the Traité des sensations to which it is appended. The common reproach of This article primarily focuses on the general concepts of matter and existence. For usage related to the prioritization of spending resources, see economic materialism. In one view, materialism expresses the view that the only thing that exists is matter; that all particulars are materially constituted. It is best understood in... materialism should certainly not be made against him. He always asserts the substantive reality of the soul; and in the opening words of his Essai, "Whether we rise to heaven, or descend to the abyss, we never get outside ourselves--it is always our own thoughts that we perceive," we have the subjectivist principle that forms the starting-point of Bishop George Berkeley George Berkeley (bark-lee) (March 12, 1685–January 14, 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley, was an influential Irish philosopher whose primary philosophical achievement is the advancement of what has come to be called subjective idealism, summed up in his dictum, Esse est percipi (To be... Berkeley.

As was fitting to a disciple of Locke, Condillac's ideas have had most importance in their effect upon English thought. In matters connected with the association of ideas, the supremacy of pleasure and pain, and the general explanation of all mental contents as sensations or transformed sensations, his influence can be traced upon the Mills and upon Alexander Bain A different Alexander Bain invented the electric clock, facsimile and earth battery. Alexander Bain (June 11, 1818 - September 18, 1903) was a Scottish philosopher and educationalist. He was born in Aberdeen, and went to school there, but took up the profession of a weaver, hence the punning description... Bain and Herbert Spencer. Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 - 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher. He was born in Derby. Educated mostly at home, Spencer worked first as a railways civil engineer beginning at age 16, writing in his spare time. In 1848, Spencer became a sub-editor on The Economist... Herbert Spencer. And, apart from any definite propositions, Condillac did a notable work in the direction of making psychology a science; it is a great step from the desultory, genial observation of Locke to the rigorous analysis of Condillac, short-sighted and defective as that analysis may seem to us in the light of fuller knowledge.

His method, however, of imaginative reconstruction was by no means suited to English ways of thinking. In spite of his protests against abstraction, hypothesis and synthesis, his allegory of the statue is in the highest degree abstract, hypothetical and synthetic. James Mill James Mill (April 6, 1773 - June 23, 1836), historian and philosopher, was born at Northwater Bridge, in the parish of Logie-Pert, Forfarshire, the son of James Mill, a shoemaker. His mother, Isabel Fenton, of a good family which had suffered from connection with the Stuart rising, resolved... James Mill, who stood more by the study of concrete realities, put Condillac into the hands of his youthful son with the warning that here was an example of what to avoid in the method of psychology. In France Condillac's doctrine, so congenial to the tone of (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. Historians will sometimes specifically refer to the 18th century as 1715-1789, denoting the period of time between the death... 18th century philosophism, reigned in the schools for over fifty years, challenged only by a few who, like Maine de Biran. François-Pierre-Gonthier Maine de Biran (November 29, 1766 - July 20?, 1824), usually known simply as Maine de Biran, was a French philosopher. Life Maine de Biran was born at Bergerac. The name Maine he assumed (some time before 1787) from an estate called Le Maine... Maine de Biran, saw that it gave no sufficient account of volitional experience. Early in the Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. In the sense of the Common Era... 19th century, the romantic awakening of The Federal Republic of Germany ( German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is one of the worlds leading industrialised countries, located in the heart of Europe. Due to its central location, Germany has more neighbours than any other European country: these are Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the... Germany had spread to France, and sensationism was displaced by the eclectic spiritualism of Victor Cousin (November 28, 1792 - January 13, 1867) was a French philosopher. The son of a watchmaker, he was born in Paris, in the Quartier Saint-Antoine. At the age of ten he was sent to the local grammar school, the Lycée Charlemagne, where he studied until he was... Victor Cousin.

Condillac's collected works were published in 1798 (23 vols.) and two or three times subsequently; the last edition (1822) has an introductory dissertation by AF Théry. The Encyclopédie méthodique has a very long article on Condillac (Naigeon). Biographical details and criticism of the Traité des systèmes in JP Damiron's Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de to philosophie au dixhuitieme siècle, tome iii.; a full criticism in V Cousin's Cours de l'histoire de la philosophie moderne, ser. i. tome iii. Consult also F Rethoré, Condillac ou l'empirisme et le rationalisme (1864); L Dewaule, Condillac et la psychologie anglaise contemporaine (1891); histories of philosophy.


  • This article incorporates text from the The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. (Proprietary interest is typically represented by a copyright or patent.) Such works and inventions are considered part of... public domain The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) in many ways represents the sum of knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century. The edition is still often regarded as the greatest edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, with many articles being up to 10 times the length of... 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
Preceded by:
Pierre-Joseph Thoulier d'Olivet
This is a list of members of the Académie française (French Academy) by seat number. The primary professions of the academicians are noted. The dates shown indicate the terms of the members, who generally serve for life. Some, however, were excluded during the reorganisations of 1803... Seat 31
The Académie française, or French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution... Académie française
Succeeded by:
Louis-Élizabeth de La Vergne de Tressan

  Results from FactBites:
Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (8691 words)
Condillac was asking what a person endowed with just a sense of smell would think upon acquiring the power of hearing, or what a person endowed with vision would know if unaffected by hunger, incapable of motion, and unaware of any tactile sensation.
Condillac's reply to the Chesselden data contained the germs of an insight that was to be central for the later Treatise: the claim that visual sensations, and indeed all sensations, might contain information that goes unnoticed by a subject simply because it is not attended to.
Condillac claimed that, were each particular smell only ever experienced in conjunction with just one particular sound, and vice versa, the two would not be thought of as distinct things or substances, even though they would be distinguished from one another.
Étienne Bonnot de Condillac > Notes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (368 words)
As Condillac presented it, the argument proceeds by establishing that thought could not be attributed to an extended being, and so must be the property of an unextended and hence immaterial substance.
To establish this point Condillac observed that any extended being is composed of parts that exist outside of one another and that therefore can be separated from one another.
Presumably he supposed that it is too extravagant, insofar as it needlessly multiplies the number of substances that are supposed to have the thought, and that it conceeds the case, insofar as it allows that thought can only occur in an indivisible substance.
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