De l'esprit. Claude-Adrien Helvetius.
De l'esprit

Banned and Burned: the Rare First edition

De l'esprit.

Paris: Chez Durand, 1758.

First edition, second issue. [4], xxii, 643, [1] pp. 1 vols. 4to (9-3/4 x 7-1/4 inches). Banned and Burned: the Rare First edition. Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spine with red leather label, marbled endpapers and edges. Upper joint starting but solid, half-title with small stain at outer edge, overall a fresh, crisp copy Smith E.1B. Item #233527

First edition of the last major work of the French philosopher and encyclopédiste Helvetius, De l'esprit (On the Mind) was condemned by the Church and the Sorbonne for its uncompromising atheism, regarded as dangerously revolutionary by the Court of Louis XV, and publicly condemned by Parliament. A follower of Locke's empiricism, Helvetius's work was an important development in the history of utilitarian thought, and both Bentham and Mill were strongly influenced by Helvetius's elaboration of a theory which saw mankind as the product of his environment and his education.

The first issue of the first edition is very rare: Smith locates only 15 copies.

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