Complex Ideas and Empiricism

Complex ideas Configurations of simple ideas.

Comte, Auguste (1798–1857) The founder of positiv- ism and coiner of the term sociology. He felt that cultures passed through three stages in the way they explained phenomena: the theological, the metaphysical, and the scientific.

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Condillac, Étienne Bonnot de (1714–1780) Main- tained that all human mental attributes could be explained using only the concept of sensation and that it was therefore unnecessary to postulate an autonomous mind.

Empiricism The belief that all knowledge is derived from experience, especially sensory experience.

Gassendi, Pierre (1592–1655) Saw humans as nothing but complex, physical machines, and he saw no need to assume a nonphysical mind. Gassendi had much in com- mon with Hobbes.

Hartley, David (1705–1757) Combined empiricism and associationism with rudimentary physiological notions.

Helvétius, Claude-Adrien (1715–1771) Elaborated the implications of empiricism and sensationalism for education. That is, a person’s intellectual development can be determined by controlling his or her experiences.

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