Two Dissertations Concerning Sense, and the Imagination. With an Essay on Consciousness.

London: Printed for J. Tonson in the Strand, 1728. First edition of what is regarded to be the first book on consciousness and an important source book in eighteenth-century aesthetics. This book is generally attributed to Zachary Mayne (1631-94), an Oxford-educated clergyman and religious writer who would have written it shortly after the publication of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), though it wasn't published until some thirty years later. Recent scholars believe it could be the work of Congreve’s friend, Charles Mayne (d. 1737). First and last few leaves lightly browned around the edges, a little light foxing. Overall a very good, attractive copy. Full modern period-style calf. Covers and spine ruled in blind, five raised bands, gilt black morocco spine label, new endpapers. Octavo. [8], 231, [1] pp. Item #13770

“Two Dissertations comprises careful accounts of sense, imagination, reason and their respective contributions to cognition. The author is primarily interested in defeating what he was convinced was the pernicious influence of John Locke’s ‘way of ideas’ and its implications for our understanding of human nature. Locke’s analysis of understanding by ideas is here interpreted as obliterating any real difference between reason and sense, thus collapsing the distinction between human and brute natures. ‘A Dissertation concerning the Imagination,’ especially, incorporates a penetrating analysis of the shortcomings of…Locke…” (James G. Buickerood in Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers).

The present work is scarce. ESTC lists nineteen copies, eight in North America (Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, Chicago, Yale, Michigan, Toronto, and the University of British Columbia). This book appears in Thoemmes’ eight-volume collection, Aesthetics: Sources in the Eighteenth Century, edited by John Valdimir Price. Not in Chuo.

Price: $4,500.00

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