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Enlightenment Philosophers - Voltaire.

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Amber Lee IB History 11 September 2, 2002 Enlightenment Philosophers - Voltaire Those of you who have read from my poem, Discourse on Man (1738), will understand what I mean when I say that the secret of being a bore is to tell everything. So it is with that in mind I introduce myself to you on this charming day in Ferny, Switzerland. You know me as Voltaire. It has been ten years since I settled here in 1758. I was born in Paris on Noveber 21, 1694 in a middle-class family, and assumed the name Francois-Marie Arouet. It wasn't until my 11-month imprisonment in the Bastille in 1717 that I began using the name Voltaire, with the completion of my first tragedy, Oedipe. ...read more.


Since then, I have gained much popularity in court under the influence of the marquise de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV. Often in my work, I concentrate on a careful study of human progress. I denounce any form of religion or supernaturalism, but I do not deny the existence of God. In fact, if God did not exist, it is my most solemn belief that it would be necessary to invent him (Epitre a l'auteur du livre des trois imposteurs.) As you may know, I am well known for my epigrams, which has caused me serious criticism from the church and court. There is a phrase I often use in my activities: ecrasons l'infame, or, "let us crush the infamous one." ...read more.


Science and literature are what we should truly rely on, rather than wasting away with our obsession with the church. Religion set aside, I further believe in the equality between men and women. I found my morality on the belief in freedom of thought and respect for all individuals, and even if I may detest what you say or write, I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write. (letter, 1770.) Now, I leave with hope that I have not told you too much to appear boring, but piqued your interest in my beliefs and philosophy. You are sure to find many articles of my work in any library near you, and I believe it would enhance your understanding greatly to review them. Thank you. ...read more.

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