Voltaire and the Beginning of the Enlightenment

Voltaire’s Dialog on Free Thought (1765) is one of the founding texts of the Enlightenment. Several themes of the Enlightenment are already here: the break with tradition and religion, the imperative to ‘use your own reason’, the judgment that society can only benefit from a free expression of thought as well as the new definition of humanity as identical to Reason.


I just made a video about this text based on a wiziq lecture of some time ago. The volume of the voice is a bit low compared to the bits of music, so beware… The lecture is 40 minutes long.

Click here for the video:

Voltaire and the Beginning of the Enlightenment

From Wikipedia:

François-Marie Arouet 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen nameVoltaire (pronounced: [volˈtɛʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays,poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. As a satiricalpolemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day.

Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.

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