Under the Reign of Terror he was arrested and imprisoned for nearly a year, during which he studied Condillac and Locke, and abandoned the natural sciences for philosophy.
Destutt de Tracy was the last eminent representative of the sensualistic school which Condillac founded in France upon a one-sided interpretation of Locke.
He pushed the sensualistic principles of Condillac to their last consequences, being in full agreement with the materialistic views of Cabanis, though the attention of the latter was devoted more to the physiological, that of Tracy to the psychological or "ideological" side of man.
She read widely though unsystematically, studying philosophy in Aristotle, Leibnitz, Locke and Condillac, and feeding her imagination with Rene and Childe Harold.
Though it never ceased to influence individual thinkers, it had handed on to Condillac its popularity with the masses.