Diderot's Early Philosophical Works

Diderot's Early Philosophical Works

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Diderot's Early Philosophical Works

Diderot's Early Philosophical Works

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Excerpt

A complete survey of the life and works of Diderot --whom Voltaire called bPantophile--is not attempted here, for the list of the topics he handled would be a very long one, including as it does various departments of art and science and speculation. The Letter on the Blind (the most interesting of his early works), however, shows him in two lights-- as a free-thinker and as one of the long succession of thinkers who prepared the way for the theory of evolution. The agitation caused by Diderot and his circle about the theory of transformism, it has been said, must have largely contributed to awaken the attention of Erasmus Darwin in England and Lamarck in France to the necessity of throwing more positive light on that great issue. Transformism only needed the partial scientific confirmation which Lamarck and Geoffroy St Hilaire gave it in the first two decades of the nineteenth century to pass from the realm of systematic philosophy into that of . . .

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