1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Laromiguière, Pierre

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LAROMIGUIÈRE, PIERRE (1756-1837), French philosopher, was born at Livignac on the 3rd of November 1756, and died on the 12th of August 1837 in Paris. As professor of philosophy at Toulouse he was unsuccessful and incurred the censure of the parliament by a thesis on the rights of property in Connexion with taxation. Subsequently he came to Paris, where he was appointed professor of logic in the Ecole Normale and lectured in the Prytanée. In 1799 he was made a member of the Tribunate, and in 1833 of the Academy of Moral and Political Science. In 1793 he published Projet d'éléments de mctaphysique, a work characterized by lucidity and excellence of style. He wrote also two Mémoires, read before the Institute, Les Paradoxes de Condillac (1805) and Lecons de philosophic (1815-1818). Laromiguiére's philosophy is interesting as a revolt against the extreme physiological psychology of the natural scientists, such as Cabanis. He distinguished between those psychological phenomena which can be traced directly to purely physical causes, and the actions of the soul which originate from within itself. Psychology was not for him a branch of physiology, nor on the other hand did he give to his theory an abstruse metaphysical basis. A pupil of Condillac and indebted for much of his ideology to Destutt de Tracy, he attached a fuller importance to Attention as a psychic faculty. Attention provides the facts, Comparison groups and combines them, while Reason systematizes and explains. The soul is active in its choice, i.e. is endowed with freewill, and is, therefore, immortal. For natural science as a method of discovery he had no respect. He held that its judgments are, at the best, statements of identity, and that its so-called discoveries are merely the reiteration, in a new form, of previous truisms. Laromiguiere was not the first to develop these views; he owed much to Condillac, Destutt de Tracy and Cabanis. But, owing to the accuracy of his language and the purity of his style, his works had great influence, especially over Armand Marrast, Cardaillac and Cousin. A lecture of his in the Ecole Normale impressed Cousin so strongly that he at once devoted himself to the study of philosophy. Jouffroy and Taine agree in describing him as one of the great thinkers of the 10th century.

See Damiron, Essai sur la philosophic en France au XIX° siécle; Biran, Examen des legons dawphilosophie; Victor Cousin, De Methode sive de Analysi; Daunou, otice sur Laromiguiére; H. Taine, Les Philosopher classiques du XIX siéclc; Gatien Arnoult, Etude sur Laromiguiére; Compayré, Notice sur Laromiguiére; Ferraz, Spiritualisme et Libéralisme; F. Picavet, Les Idéologues.