Analytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul




2022.12.3 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Charles Bonnet, Analytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul, Stephen Gaukroger (trans.), Oxford University Press, 2022, 234pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780192846778.

Reviewed by John H. Zammito, Rice University

Who was Charles Bonnet, and why has this work been chosen for English translation? Bonnet (1720–1793) was a prominent Genevan thinker of the Enlightenment who first became famous in 1743 as an experimental naturalist disciple of Réaumur, working in entomological microscopy. Eye strain (and encountering Leibniz’s Theodicy) induced him to turn, in the 1750s, from experiment to “philosophical” meditations, resulting in a prolix 3000-page manuscript from which he generated several major publications over the next severalfew decades. Part of this manuscript, entitled “Essay on Psychology,” he presented to his peers in Geneva early in the decade,…

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