Condillac Etienne Bonnot De Mably

Condillac Etienne Bonnot de Mably, one of the chief French philosophers of the 18th century, brother of the abb: Mably, was born at Grenoble in 1715. At the age of thirty he published his first important work, Essai sur l'origine des connaissances humaines (Amsterdam, 1746, 2 vols.; Eng. transl. by Th. Nugent, 1756), by which he largely contributed to the spreading of the views of Locke in France, and to their farther development. This book is a natural history of human cogniition, the foundation of which is found by Condillac in the sensuous impressions and their transformations. To refute the metaphysical systems which do not proceed from experience, he wrote his Traite des Systemes (Amsterdam, 1749, 2 vols.). His views on the origin of human cognition were more fully developed in his Traite des Sensations (Amsterdam, 1754, 2 vols.). As he was charged with having plagiarized from Diderot and Buffon, he wrote for his defense Traite des Animaux (Amsterdam, 1775). By all these writings Condillac became one of the chief representatives of Sensualism, although he steered clear of the Materialism of his age. His knowledge had procured for him at an early age the position of tutor of the infante of Parma, a nephew of Louis XV. He wrote for him a Cours d' etude (Parma, 1775, 13 vols.), which contains a grammar, an Art d'ecrire, an Art de raisonner, an Art depenser, and a universal history. In 1768 he was made a member of the French Academy. During the latter part of his life he lived very retired, and died August 3, 1780. His complete works have appeared in several editions (OEuvres Complates, Paris, 1798, 23 vols.; 1803, 32 vols.; 1824, 16 vols.). — (Brockhaus) Conversat. Lex. s.v.; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 2:764.

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