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Look Inside Condillac: Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge

Condillac: Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge

£55.99

Part of Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy

  • Date Published: September 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521584678

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  • Condillac's Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge, first published in French in 1746 and offered here in a new translation, represented in its time a radical departure from the dominant conception of the mind as a reservoir of innately given ideas. Descartes had held that knowledge must rest on ideas; Condillac turned this upside down by arguing that speech and words are the origin of mental life and knowledge. He argued, further, that language has its origin in human interaction and in our natural capacity to react spontaneously and instinctively to the expression of emotions and states of mind in others. The importance of this pointedly anti-Cartesian view, and its relevance to both aesthetics and epistemology, were quickly understood, and Condillac's work influenced many later philosophers including Herder, Rousseau, and Adam Smith. His conception also anticipated Wittgenstein's view of language, its usage, and its relation to mind and thought.

    • New translation of a work not translated into English since 1756
    • Seminal work in the history of philosophy of language, anticipating Wittgenstein
    • Aarsleff an acknowledged expert in the field
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2001
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521584678
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Materials of our Knowledge and Especially the Operations of the Soul: Section 1
    Section 2. Analysis and generation of the operations of the soul
    Section 3. Simple and complex ideas
    Section 4
    Section 5. Abstractions
    Section 6. Some judgments that have been erroneously attributed to the mind, or the solution of a metaphysical problem
    Part II. Language and Method: Section 1. The origin and progress of language
    Section 2. Method.

  • Author

    Etienne Bonnot De Condillac

    Editor and Translator

    Hans Aarsleff, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Hans Aarsleff is Professor of English, Emeritus, Princeton University.

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