Sunday, May 10, 2009

41 Voltaire

Voltaire...a fortunate man...lots of money and a brilliant mind. However, tho he has written al lot he was not an original philosopher. He was well educated...had contact with Hume, admired Newton....brought the ideas of Locke tto the Continent.

He was the man of REASON...The higjlight of the Enlightment. However, philosophically I was in trouble, for Voltaire has no philosophy. H ejust wrote tons of essays and letters....22.000. Can you believe that.

Besides that he spent time in the Bastille..had to go in exile time and again, but I think he enjoyed it. He had plenty of money. No problem...had a house built i Freney...well a house...

We are following the development of mind throught the ages and he is an example of how Reason had become the touchstone.

But we are on the Continent God is there too again. And tho reason was his touchstone and tho he was in constanct conflict with the catholic church, even for Voltaire there was a god.

Let's listen to Voltaire himself:

"The knowledge of a God is not impressed upon us by the hands of nature, for then men would all have the same idea; and no idea is born with us. It does not come to us like the perception of light, of the ground, etc., which we receive as soon as our eyes and our understandings are opened. Is it a philosophical idea? No; men admitted the existence of gods before they were philosophers."

"Whence, then, is this idea derived? From feeling, and from that natural logic which unfolds itself with age, even in the rudest of mankind. Astonishing effects of nature were beheld—harvests and barrenness, fair weather and storms, benefits and scourges; and the hand of a master was felt. "

"Chiefs were necessary to govern societies; and it was needful to admit sovereigns of these new sovereigns whom human weakness had given itself—beings before whose power these men who could bear down their fellow-men might tremble. The first sovereigns in their time employed these notions to cement their power. Such were the first steps; thus every little society had its god."

"One society under a chief did not deny that the neighboring tribe should likewise have its judge, or its captain; consequently it could not deny that the other should also have its god. But as it was to the interest of each tribe that its captain should be the best, it was also interested in believing, and consequently it did believe, that its god was the mightiest."

He goes on and is so exciting to read that he had read Cicero, Locke, Hobbes, Spinoza....and at the end he leaves it to the philosophers.

"I do not believe that there is in all Europe one statesman, one man at all versed in the affairs of the world, who has not the most profound contempt for the legends with which we have been inundated, even more than we now are with pamphlets. If religion no longer gives birth to civil wars, it is to philosophy alone that we are indebted, theological disputes beginning to be regarded in much the same manner as the quarrels of Punch and Judy at the fair."

All these quotes are from from Voltaire's Dictionnaire Philosophique whuch he publise din 1764. And what is so exciting is that it is so much fun to read and you can have it for free...the entire Dictionaire. And you can have more books for free....Amazing and wonderful.

Go to

Bookmark this URL!!!! Sensational...A Goldmine.
There you will find Voltaire's Dictionnaire Philosophique. You even can download it. Hail to the University of Adelaide, Hail to Australia...Osrum this is your day.

The Discussion

[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:26] Osrum Sands: yes
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: wonderful
[13:27] Herman Bergson: yes...wonderful indeed
[13:27] Herman Bergson: I had a hard time getting a focus on Voltaire....
[13:27] Herman Bergson: but the dictionaire is a goldmine of fun
[13:28] Herman Bergson: you all should read it....on page articles on concepts...
[13:28] Herman Bergson: so I searched it for terms like Believe, Faith , Cerainty and then I saw the entry God..:-)
[13:29] Herman Bergson: He is not a guy who offers us gunpowder for a good debate on epitemological matters
[13:30] Herman Bergson: the entry CAUSALITY is not in his dictionary for instance
[13:30] itsme Frederix: (just another )
[13:30] Herman Bergson: and his idea of god was of the clockmaker's kind
[13:31] Herman Bergson: ah,,,,the gutenberg project..YES...
[13:31] Herman Bergson: we should add that to our bookmarks too
[13:31] Herman Bergson: thnx Itsme
[13:32] itsme Frederix: well I'm documented - but did not read it all ;)
[13:32] Osrum Sands: Looks like the 'truth' is out there somewhere !
[13:33] Herman Bergson: philosophically we have come to the conclusion with Hume that there is no "Truth"
[13:33] Osrum Sands: is that true?
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:34] Herman Bergson: yes..the idea of an absolute truth is just a dream
[13:34] Osrum Sands: cause surly if there is no truth then it is not true that there is no truth
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: lol
[13:34] Rasana Destiny: lol
[13:34] Herman Bergson: that fun was philisophically solved by Russell Osrum...
[13:35] itsme Frederix: well you spel it with a Capital Osrum didn't
[13:35] Osrum Sands: ok
[13:35] itsme Frederix: small truths still exist ;)
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: well 'the truth of the matter is'
[13:36] Osrum Sands: hahah
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: we can only get close to the truth
[13:36] itsme Frederix: Matter another idea that has to go ..
[13:36] Herman Bergson: well..let me explain...
[13:36] Herman Bergson: when I say ..this is statement refers to a state of affairs in reality
[13:37] Osrum Sands: reality being ?
[13:37] itsme Frederix: Or Herman a logical tautology
[13:37] Herman Bergson: when I say it is true that nothing is true, the part nothing is true refers to states of affair in reality,
[13:37] Herman Bergson: but the first is true just referst for the statement
[13:38] itsme Frederix: The question remains " who shaves the barber"
[13:38] Herman Bergson: so from a meta level
[13:38] Osrum Sands: and who pays the piper?
[13:38] Osrum Sands: sorry shall keep quiet
[13:38] Herman Bergson: well..simple..the piper shaves the barber
[13:39] itsme Frederix: You most certainly going to do that Herman (Carnap, Russel, Godel)
[13:39] itsme Frederix: and the barber plays the flute
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Yes only need to be patientt..^_^
[13:40] itsme Frederix: just me or ..
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman, in the new age of reason I see Votaire as a 'road paver'
[13:40] Zingo Hax: road paver?
[13:41] Herman Bergson: I dont know...
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: with his deistic thinking
[13:41] Herman Bergson: He was a child of his time
[13:41] itsme Frederix: well he most certainly did not pave the road for p.e. Rousseau
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: he was a major influence on the american and the frence revolution
[13:42] Herman Bergson: they say he caused the French revolution ..yes..
[13:42] Herman Bergson: but that isnt true of course..
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: a good many of the amercian founders were both deists and freemasons
[13:42] Herman Bergson: I see..
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: and thomas paine
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: that is why I call him a road paver
[13:43] Herman Bergson: Well..let's keep it an easy debate today...
[13:44] Lian Hornet: Most americans don't know that, many think the US is founded on Christian principles
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Lian
[13:44] Herman Bergson: to say it in a impolite way...Voltaire was the perfect standup comedian of his time
[13:44] Ewa Aska: yes
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: I understand he was considered witty
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: stayed in trouble with the authorities
[13:45] Herman Bergson: I really can advise you to have a look at his Dictionnaire is really very readable and fun to if it was written today
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: I plan to, myself
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: I enjoyed reading what I have
[13:46] itsme Frederix: Well after all, Voltaire has some literary worth
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: oh he was a writer extraodiare
[13:47] itsme Frederix: not every "philosopher" can say that
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: I think Herman is right in his appraisal tho of his not being so much of a philosopher
[13:47] Herman Bergson: true...but Voltaire wasnt a philosopher in the real sense of the word, I would say
[13:48] itsme Frederix: So we do not have Truth but we have Philosopher's Herman
[13:48] itsme Frederix: kidding ;)
[13:49] Herman Bergson: in a way you are right Itsme..^_^
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: you know I think there may be truth, but it is a fleeting as the infintestimal momest of Zeno's arrow
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: moment
[13:50] Herman Bergson: Voltaire was a man with whom we could relax for a class..^_^
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, a regular kind of guy
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: no stress
[13:51] Herman Bergson: so thnx for your attention and discussion...we have still to face a number of big issues

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-02-14 19:12:53

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