Diderot's Early Philosophical Works

By Denis Diderot; Margaret Jourdain | Go to book overview

PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHTS

Quis leget hæc.--PERS. Sat. 1. 2.

I WRITE of God; I count on a very few readers; and do not hope to find many in agreement with me. If these thoughts please nobody, they are certainly bad, but I should count them sorry stuff if they were to everybody's taste.


I

People are for ever declaiming against the passions; they attribute to them all the pains that man endures, and forget that they are also the source of all his pleasures. It is an ingredient in man's constitution which cannot sufficiently be blessed and banned. It is considered as an affront to reason if one ventures to say a word in favour of its rivals; yet it is passions alone, and strong passions, that can elevate the soul to great things. Without them, there is no sublime, either in morality or in achievement; the fine arts return to puerility, and virtue becomes a pettifogging thing.


II

Sober passions make men commonplace. If I hang back before the enemy, when my country's

-27-

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Diderot's Early Philosophical Works
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Philosophic Thoughts 27
  • Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See 68
  • Addition to the Preceding Letter 142
  • Letter on the Deaf and Dumb 158
  • Notes 219
  • Appendix - Blindness 226
  • Index 245
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