Here it may be asked: In what way does Beattie's Essay on Truth improve upon Thomas Reid's earlier Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764)? The short answer is that it does not. Beattie freely admits that he is heavily indebted to Reid. However, the Essay differs from the Inquiry in one obvious respect: Beattie's tract is infinitely more hard-hitting and caustic than anything ever penned by Reid. Where Reid writes respectfully of his opponents, Beattie tends to denounce and vilify them. Where Reid wraps up his subtle thoughts in restrained professorial prose, Beattie's simple arguments are presented with the spleen and verve of the born orator. These contrasts reflect a more basic difference between our two defenders of common sense. Unlike Reid, Beattie is first and foremost a moralist and an apologist. He is not interested in defending a subtle or nuanced philosophical thesis. Rather, Beattie is defending a lofty (albeit vaguely defined) cause - to wit, “the cause of truth, virtue, and mankind.” Translated into more prosaic (but precise) terms, Beattie's “cause” is that of deflecting philosophical opposition to a broadly Judeo-Christian understanding of human nature. According to this understanding, human beings are free but finite creatures made in the image of a good God or Creator. Neither brutes nor divinities, we occupy an intermediate place in creation and are better suited for action than for speculation. Inasmuch as our cognitive faculties are God-given, we may trust their deliverances - provided we acknowledge their limitations and exercise them under conditions that define our humble “middle state” (to quote Alexander Pope). Beattie's bold strategy in the Essay was to argue that these familiar ideas about human nature are unassailable because they rest on the solid and irrefragable foundation of “common sense” (rather than philosophic demonstrability). Here was a book apt to reassure the devout but timorous Christian reader, for it confidently announced that Humean scepticism – and the bulk of modern philosophy - was infinitely more suited to be ridiculed than to be feared.
Michel Foucault also addressed the question of the author in critical interpretation. In his 1969 essay " What is an Author? ", he developed the idea of " author function " to explain the author as a classifying principle within a particular discursive formation. Foucault did not mention Barthes in his essay but its analysis has been seen as a challenge to Barthes' depiction of a historical progression that will liberate the reader from domination by the author. Jacques Derrida paid ironic homage to Barthes's "The Death of the Author" in his essay "The Deaths of Roland Barthes".