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18th century French philosopher
Étienne Bonnot de Condillac

Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (30 September 1714 – 3 August 1780) was a French philosopher and epistemologist, who studied in such areas as psychology and the philosophy of the mind.


Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, by Lorne Falkenstein, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 21 Sep 2017
Selected sections: Life and Works - The Metaphysics of Condillac's Sensationism - The Development of Higher Cognitive Faculties - Signs and the 'Language of Action' - The Animal Soul, Moral Laws, and Immortality - Commerce and Government - Problems
Étienne Bonnot, Abbé de Condillac, was the chief exponent of a radically empiricist account of the workings of the mind that has since come to be referred to as 'sensationism.' Whereas John Locke's empiricism followed upon a rejection of innate principles and innate ideas, Condillac went further and rejected innate abilities as well. On his version of empiricism, experience not only provides us with 'ideas' or the raw materials for knowledge, it also teaches us how to focus attention, remember, imagine, abstract, judge, and reason. It forms our desires and teaches us what to will.


30 Sep 1715, in Grenoble, France


3 Aug 1780, in Beaugency, France

Web Pages

Étienne Bonnot, Abbé de Condillac - Online Library of Liberty
Includes short biography and links to two of Condillac's works
Étienne Bonnot, Abbé de Condillac (1714-1780) was a French priest, philosopher, and economist and a member of the French Academy. He was an advocate of the ideas of John Locke and a friend of the encyclopedist Denis Diderot. His work on Commerce and Government appeared in the same year as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.

Books Authored

Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge, 1746
Original text available at French Wikisource; partial contents: The materials of our knowledge and especially the operations of the soul - Sensations - Simple and complex ideas - Abtractions - Language and method - Music - Words
Related Topic: Epistemology

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Étienne Bonnot de Condillac" as of 11 Dec 2017, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.