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Voltaires Philosophical Dictionary

Voltaires Philosophical Dictionary

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Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary
Title: Voltaire's Philosophical DictionaryAuthor: Voltaire
 
PREFACE 
This book does not demand continuous reading; but at whatever place one opens it, one will find matter forreflection. The most useful books are those of which readers themselves compose half; they extend thethoughts of which the germ is presented to them; they correct what seems defective to them, and they fortifyby their reflections what seems to them weak.It is only really by enlightened people that this book can be read; the ordinary man is not made for suchknowledge; philosophy will never be his lot. Those who say that there are truths which must be hidden fromthe people, need not be alarmed; the people do not read; they work six days of the week, and on the seventhgo to the inn. In a word, philosophical works are made only for philosophers, and every honest man must tryto be a philosopher, without pluming himself on being one.This alphabet is extracted from the most estimable works which are not commonly within the reach of themany; and if the author does not always mention the sources of his information, as being well enough knownto the learned, he must not be suspected of wishing to take the credit for other people's work, because hehimself preserves anonymity, according to this word of the Gospel: "Let not thy left hand know what thy righthand doeth."
CONTENTS
PAGE PREFACE BY VOLTAIRE 5ADULTERY 11 ADVOCATE 16 ANCIENTS AND MODERNS 17 ANIMALS 21 ANTIQUITY 24 ARTS27 ASTROLOGY 29 ATHEISM 32 AUTHORITY 46 AUTHORS 48BANISHMENT 50 BANKRUPTCY 51 BEAUTY 53 BISHOP 55 BOOKS 57 BOULEVERD 60 BOURGES61 BRAHMINS 62CHARACTER 65 CHARLATAN 68 CIVIL LAWS 73 CLIMATE 74 COMMON SENSE 78CONCATENATION OF EVENTS 80 CONTRADICTIONS 83 CORN 85 CROMWELL 88 CUSTOMS 94DEMOCRACY 96 DESTINY 98 DEVOUT 102ECCLESIASTICAL MINISTRY 103 EMBLEM 106 ENGLISH THEATRE, ON THE 110 ENVY 112EQUALITY 114 EXPIATION 118 EXTREME 122 EZOURVEIDAM 125FAITH 126 FALSE MINDS 128 FATHERLAND 131 FINAL CAUSES 133 FRAUD 136 FREE-WILL 142FRENCH 146 FRIENDSHIP 150GOD 151HELVETIA 156 HISTORY 157IGNORANCE 163 IMPIOUS 166JOAN OF ARC 168KISSING 173
Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary2
 
LANGUAGES 178 LAWS 184 LIBERTY 187 LIBRARY 191 LIMITS OF THE HUMAN MIND 194LOCAL CRIMES 195 LOVE 197 LUXURY 200MAN 203 MAN IN THE IRON MASK 204 MARRIAGE 210 MASTER 211 MEN OF LETTERS 214METAMORPHOSIS 216 MILTON, ON THE REPROACH OF PLAGIARISM AGAINST 217MOHAMMEDANS 220 MOUNTAIN 221NAKEDNESS 222 NATURAL LAW 224 NATURE 227 NECESSARY 231 NEW NOVELTIES 236PHILOSOPHER 237 POWER, OMNIPOTENCE 240 PRAYERS 245 PRÉCIS OF ANCIENTPHILOSOPHY 247 PREJUDICES 251RARE 255 REASON 257 RELIGION 259SECT 267 SELF-ESTEEM 271 SOUL 273 STATES, GOVERNMENTS 294 SUPERSTITION 297TEARS 299 THEIST 301 TOLERANCE 302 TRUTH 305 TYRANNY 308VIRTUE 309WHY? 313DECLARATION OF ADMIRERS, QUESTIONERS AND DOUBTERS 315
 ADULTERY 
NOTE ON A MAGISTRATE WRITTEN ABOUT 1764A senior magistrate of a French town had the misfortune to have a wife who was debauched by a priest beforeher marriage, and who since covered herself with disgrace by public scandals: he was so moderate as to leaveher without noise. This man, about forty years old, vigorous and of agreeable appearance, needs a woman; heis too scrupulous to seek to seduce another man's wife, he fears intercourse with a public woman or with awidow who would serve him as concubine. In this disquieting and sad state, he addresses to his Church a pleaof which the following is a précis:My wife is criminal, and it is I who am punished. Another woman is necessary as a comfort to my life, to myvirtue even; and the sect of which I am a member refuses her to me; it forbids me to marry an honest girl. Thecivil laws of to-day, unfortunately founded on canon law, deprive me of the rights of humanity. The Churchreduces me to seeking either the pleasures it reproves, or the shameful compensations it condemns; it tries toforce me to be criminal.I cast my eyes over all the peoples of the earth; there is not a single one except the Roman Catholic peopleamong whom divorce and a new marriage are not natural rights.What upheaval of the rule has therefore made among the Catholics a virtue of undergoing adultery, and a dutyof lacking a wife when one has been infamously outraged by one's own?Why is a bond that has rotted indissoluble in spite of the great law adopted by the code,
quidquid ligatur dissolubile est 
? I am allowed a separation
a mensa et thoro
, and I am not allowed divorce. The law candeprive me of my wife, and it leaves me a name called "sacrament"! What a contradiction! what slavery! andunder what laws did we receive birth!
Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary3

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