- First, he claimed that all mental operations could be derived from sensation alone, rejecting reflection as a source of ideas.
- Second, he took Locke's attack on innate ideas a major step further, by denying the existence of any innate faculties. Mental faculties too (e.g. attention and memory) were themselves generated from the occurrence of simple sensations.
- Third, where Locke claimed that the function of language was to communicate ideas which could exist independently of it, Condillac insisted that the function of language was constitutive in their formation.
- This claim culminated in the view that knowledge itself is a well-made language, and that the basic form of a well-made language is algebra, which consists of tautological propositions.
Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet method. Ahead of his time in many respects as an 18th century thinker, he advocated a liberal economy, free and equal public education, constitutional justice, and equal rights for women and people of all races. His ideas and writings embodied the ideals of the Enlightenment and rationalism, and remain influential to this day. WikipediaWhen the French Revolution broke out Condorcet championed the liberal cause. He was elected as the Paris representative in the Legislative Assembly and he became the secretary of the Assembly. He drew up plans for a state education system which were adopted. Condorcet went into hiding and wrote a very interesting philosophical work Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'esprit humain (1795). He was arrested and imprisoned on 27 March 1794. Two days later he was found dead in his prison cell. J J O'Connor and E F Robertson