Six vols, 8vo, pp. viii, 742, with 1 folding table; 724; 848; xi, , 736; , 776; xxxviii, , 904; a little foxed, but a very good copy in contemporary half calf, panelled spines filleted and lettered in gilt, marbled boards, one or two joints rubbed, split or splitting.
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Cours de philosophie positive.
First edition, an attractive set, of Comte’s principal work, the outline of positivism. In the course of six volumes Comte sets out the terms of a new sociology and its status in relations to the other fields of knowledge. In fact it is in the forty-seventh lesson that the neologism ‘sociologie’ as ‘social physics’ is coined. ‘The remarkable achievement of Comte, all arguments about the validity of his theories aside, is the construction of a system which embraces all human activity and knowledge. [It] is still one of the major documents of secular philosophy’ (PMM). PMM 295; En français dans le texte, 245.
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Essays on the powers of the human mind; to which are prefixed, an Essay on quantity, and an Analysis of Aristotle’s Logic. In three volumes.
A beautiful set of this small format edition of the principal philosophical works of the Scottish enlightenment philosopher Thomas Reid (1710–1796). The collection, which first appeared in this form in 1812, includes, besides Reid’s first major work, his works on the faculties of the mind, Intellectual (1785), and Active Powers of Man (1788), together with the essay On Quantity and the Analysis of Aristotle’s Logic. The Essay on Quantity appears here for the first time since its original publication in the Philosophical Transactions (1748), whilst the Analysis had appeared earlier only as part of Kames’ Sketches (1806 edition).
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT STAGES DEPEND ON ECONOMY MILLAR, John.
Observations concerning the distinction of ranks in society. Under the following heads: 1. Of the ranks and condition of women in different ages. II. Of the jurisdiction and authority of a father over his children. III. Of the authority of a chief over the members of a tribe or village. IV. Of the authority of a master over his servants.
Second London edition, ‘greatly enlarged’, first published 1771. The first section of Millar’s book is a study of matrilineal ‘savage’ societies, in which early social development counts most when it comes to kinship with the mother, is remarkably prescient (see Morgan, Systems). Millar uses the ‘four stages’ theory that was the cornerstone of the Scottish Enlightenment, derived from the writing of Hume and Adam Smith, with whom Millar was a close friend. This posits a social development dependent on the cultural effects of economic relations, i.e. the development of hunting, property, agriculture and commerce, rather than the accidents of climate. Millar’s study of the unequal treatment of women clearly uses this four stages narrative in its comparative study of a number of cultures, including that of the Ancient Greeks. The last section addresses slavery, to which Millar was opposed.