Claude Buffier and Thomas Reid

Claude Buffier and Thomas Reid: Two Common-Sense Philosophers

Louise Marcil-Lacoste
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 234
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  • Book Info
    Claude Buffier and Thomas Reid
    Book Description:

    Claude Buffier (1661-1737) was a French Jesuit whose philosophy earned Voltaire's praise. Thomas Reid (1710-96) was the one Scottish philosopher whose response to David Hume is still taken seriously. In this comparative study Professor Marcil-Lacoste not only refutes common assumptions, but also shows that, despite their similar concerns and the unfounded charge that Reid plagiarized from Buffier, a comparison of Reid and Buffier illuminates a range of significant epistemological issues. Further, she demonstrates that common-sense philosophies can be varied, subtle, and original.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6398-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. I General Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In this book, I want to show that common-sense philosophy is an important segment of the history of ideas and should be reevaluated by philosophers. My general claim is that common-sense philosophy is not taken seriously because of incorrect presuppositions about what it is. In order to substantiate this claim, I shall compare the doctrines of Claude Buffier and Thomas Reid. I chose these philosophers not only because they are important in a history of the doctrines of common sense, but also because their respective views present interesting counterexamples to the general misconceptions about this philosophy.

    Common-sense philosophy has often...

  4. II Claude Buffier
    (pp. 11-72)

    Voltaire was one of the first to praise Buffier’s philosophy. InLesiècle de Louis XIV, he included Buffier in his “Catalogue de la plupart des écrivains” and wrote: “Il y a dans ses traités de métaphysique des morceaux que Locke n’aurait pas désavoués; et c’est le seul jésuite quiait mis une philosophie raisonnable dans ses ouvrages.” Despite Voltaire’s praise, Buffier’s philosophy is still little known. This “shameful neglect,” as Louis Peisse once called it, may derive from the fact that Buffier’s doctrine of common sense is part of a far-ranging intellectual activity. A brief survey of his publications reveals indeed...

  5. III Thomas Reid
    (pp. 73-152)

    Because my purpose is to show that Reid’s justification of sense is original, it is important to begin by acknowledging that,as other commentators have pointed out, he uses the term “common sense“ in a variety of ways. In the context of our study, we must notice that, unlike Buffier, Reid did not start his philosophical undertaking by defining common sense. In fact, although his first book (1764) was titledAn Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense, it is only in his second work,Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man(1785), particularly in his “Essay...

  6. IV General Conclusion
    (pp. 153-178)

    In this conclusion, I want to provide an answer to the raised in the introduction of this book: (1) the specific question of whether or not Reid’s theory was plagiarized from Buffier (the extent to which Buffier and Reid differ in substantial issues), and (2) the question of whether or not common-sense philosophers offer legitimate philosophic arguments to support their positions (the extent to which Buffier and Reid can be used as counterexamples to the caricatures of common-sense doctrines).

    I propose to treat these two questions together. Instead of providing a list of detailed differences as a refutation of the...

  7. Appendix: Thomas Reid’s Curâ Primâ on Common Sense
    (pp. 179-208)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 209-220)
  9. Index
    (pp. 221-227)