Oeuvres d'histoire naturelle et de philosophie. . ..
by BONNET, Charles (1720-1793).
Neuchatel:: Samuel Fauche, 1779-1783., 1779. Eight volumes. 4to. Half-titles, fine engraved frontis. port. of Bonnet in Vol. I, engraved title-page vignettes, fine engraved head- and tail-pieces, 2 folding tables, 56 folding engraved plates; wanting 1 leaf of the contents in Vol. VI, pages 423-424. Contemporary tree calf, red and black leather spine labels, richly gilt spines; neat restoration to some spine ends. A BEAUTIFUL STUNNING SET IN THE ORIGINAL TREE CALF. FIRST COLLECTED EDITION of the preferred large quarto issue of the scientific and philosophical writings of Charles Bonnet. Bonnet "is considered one of the fathers of modern biology. He is distinguished for both his experimental research and his philosophy, which exerted a profound influence upon the naturalists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries." DSB. Includes the "Greet Chain of Being" plate. "The Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God. The chain starts with God and progresses downward to angels, demons, stars, moon, kings, princes, nobles, commoners, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals and other minerals." "In 1760 he described a condition now called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, in which vivid, complex visual hallucinations (fictive visual percepts) occur in psychologically normal people. (He documented it in his 87-year-old grandfather, who was nearly blind from cataracts in both eyes but perceived men, women, birds, carriages, buildings, tapestries and scaffolding patterns.) Most people affected are elderly with visual impairments, however the phenomenon does not occur only in the elderly or in those with visual impairments; it can also be caused by damage elsewhere in their optic pathway or brain. / Bonnet's philosophical system may be outlined as follows. Man is a compound of two distinct substances, mind and body, the one immaterial and the other material. All knowledge originates in sensations; sensations follow (whether as physical effects or merely as sequents Bonnet will not say) vibrations in the nerves appropriate to each; and lastly, the nerves are made to vibrate by external physical stimulus. A nerve once set in motion by a particular object tends to reproduce that motion; so that when it a second time receives an impression from the same object it vibrates with less resistance. The sensation accompanying this increased flexibility in the nerve is, according to Bonnet, the condition of memory. When reflection—that is, the active element in mind—is applied to the acquisition and combination of sensations, those abstract ideas are formed which, though generally distinguished from, are thus merely sensations in combination only. That which puts the mind into activity is pleasure or pain; happiness is the end of human existence." – Wikipedia. This is a lovely set in full contemporary tree calf, elaborately decorated spine with red and black calf labels. BM (Nat. Hist.), I, p. 197; DSB, II, p. 286; Gascoigne 10837.6.
(Inventory #: SS13504)
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