Pourchot, Edmund

, an eminent French professor of philosophy, was born at Poilly, a village in the diocese of Sens, in the year 1651, and studied at the university of Paris, where he distinguished himself by his talents and great diligence, and in 1673 he was admitted to the degree of M. A. In the year 1677 he was appointed professor of philosophy in his own college, whither his reputation soon attracted a multitude of students and at the opening of the “College des Quatre Nations,' 7 he was appointed to fill the philosophical chair in that seminary. Mr. Pourchot soon became dissatisfied with the Aristotelian philosophy, and embraced the principles of Des Cartes, applying mathematical principles and reasonings to the discovery of | physical and moral truths. He now drew up a system of philosophy, which he published under the title of” Institutiones Philosophies,“which was very generally applauded, and met with an astonishing sale. His reputation as a philosopher, at this time, stood so high, that his lectures were always attended by a numerous concourse of students. His acquaintance was eagerly courted by the most celebrated literary characters of his time Racine, Despreaux, Mabillon, Dupin, Baillet, Montfaucon, and Santeul, were his intimate associates. He was honoured with the esteem of M. Bossuet and M. de Fenelon. The latter would have procured for him the appointment of tutor to the younger branches of the royal family, but he preferred to employ his talents in the service of the university; and was seven times chosen to fill the post of rector of that body, and was syndic for the long space of forty years. At a very advanced age he began to apply himself to the study of the Hebrew language, with a degree of ardour which soon enabled him to deliver a course of lectures upon it at the college of St. Barbe. In the midst of his numerous engagements, he found leisure to improve his” Philosophical Institutions,“of which he was preparing the fourth edition for the press, when he lost his eyesight. He died at Paris in 1734, in the 83d year of his age. Besides his” Institutions,“he was author of numerous” Discourses,“which were given to the public in the” Acts of the University,“and various” Memoirs.“He assisted the learned Masclef in greatly improving the second edition of his” Grammatica Hebraica," and he aided him in drawing up the Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan grammars, which are combined in that edition. 1


Moreri. Dict. Hiit.