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Maine de Biran

Maine de Biran (mĕn də bēräNˈ) [key], 1766–1824, French philosopher, member of the Council of Five Hundred (1797), and councilor of state (1816). His real name was Marie François Pierre Gonthier de Biran. Although interested in the theories of Condillac and the ideologues, he was unable to accept Condillac's view of knowledge as derived solely from sensation. Maine de Biran emphasized the importance of inner consciousness of the self, finding the basis of morality in the consciousness of volitional activity. He later inclined toward mysticism. His writings were collected as Œuvres inédites de Maine de Biran (1859).

See studies by P. P. Hallie (1959) and F. C. T. Moore (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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