Book ID: CBB340555409

Analytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul (2022)


Bonnet, Charles (Author)
Gaukroger, Stephen W. (Contributor)

Oxford University Press
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 272

In the course of the eighteenth century, understanding human cognitive life came to be construed as something to be explored in terms of the physiology of the sensory organs, the nerves, and the brain: a form of naturalization that effectively moved cognition out of the realm of philosophy as it had traditionally been understood. Bonnet's Analytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul was at the forefront of these developments, and this is its first English translation. Drawing on his earlier work in natural history--he was the leading entomologist of his era--he approaches problems of the nature of the mind via the physiology and anatomy of the brain and sensory systems. His approach is one of 'reverse engineering', starting from an organic statue without faculties, and investigating how it would need to be modified to produce a human being. Bonnet takes up a position that cuts across the standard understanding of the period as a clash between materialism and dualism. While his approach was rigorously naturalistic and physiological, this did not lead him to reject the notion of a soul. Instead, he argues that, in order to make sense of their sensory abilities, we need to attribute a soul to animals as well as human beings. At the same time, he argues that if personal immortality is to be possible, it can be conceived along the lines of insect metamorphosis, which shows how different biological forms can harbour a single identity.

Reviewed By

Review Jeremy Dunham (2023) Review of "Analytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul". HOPOS (pp. 554-557). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Cheung, Tobias
Bassiri, Nima
Bertucci, Paola
Candaux, Jean-Daniel
Ducheyne, Steffen
Horstmanshoff, H. F. J.
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Archives of Natural History
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
British Journal for the History of Science
Cambridge University Press
Natural history
Soul (philosophy)
Naturalism (philosophy)
Correspondence and corresponding
Bonnet, Charles
Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de
Ardinghelli, Maria Angela
Bourguet, Louis
Cuvier, Georges
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
14th century
19th century
Geneva (Switzerland)
Great Britain
Académie des Sciences, Paris
Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen

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