Paris: Chez Didot/Barrois…, 1757. First edition. Some light wear to covers, four bottom corners torn in Gathering “t” of Volume I, but still a very good, attractive set. Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spines with brown morocco labels, edges stained red. Three volumes, twelvemo. , xx, 464; 2], x, 532; , 461, [3, approbation et privlège] pp. Item #13413
Abbé Pluquet (1716-1790) was born at Bayeux, studied at the University of Paris, and became friends with Fontenelle, Montesquieu and Helvetius. The present work was his first. In it he examines the arguments of philosophers and theologians from ancient times on the subject of determinism, fatalism and free will. He comes out in favor of free will and by extension the pursuit of knowledge and the moral sense. In 1776 he became professor of moral philosophy at the University of Paris, and in 1782, he became chair of the department. His works, which are still respected, include Memoirs pour servir à l’histoire des égaremens de l’esprit humain par rapport à la religion chrétienne, ou dictionnaire des hérésies (1762), Traité philosophique et politique sur le luxe (1786) and De la superstition et de l’enthousiasme (1804). This is an uncommon book. OCLC lists twelve copies, ten in North America. No copy is listed in American Book Prices Current over the last thirty years.