Enlightenment II (The French): deism, morality and politics

The French Enlightenment II: deism, morality and politics Peter Jimack One of the most striking features of the French Enlightenment was its hostility to Christianity, especially as represented by the Catholic Church, a hostility which went far beyond the mere loss of faith produced by the scientific and philosophical developments discussed in the previous chapter. To some extent it was on social and humanitarian grounds. First and foremost, the principle of religious intolerance and the practice of imprisoning or even burning dissidents were abhorrent to most Enlightenment thinkers. Many, too, condemned the Church for its vast wealth and the financial privileges it enjoyed, at the same time as it damaged the country’s economy by removing so many men from the workforce, and even (at a time when population was perceived as a measure of prosperity) by preventing them from having children. There were even those like d’Holbach (1723–89), who, in works such as La Contagion sacrée (1768), anticipated the Marxist view of religion in seeing the Church as having always been in league with oppressive rulers to help keep the people in a state of submission. Some of these criticisms were no doubt unfair, and related more to excesses and abuses than to the essence of Christianity. But excesses and abuses aside, it may be argued that the Church stood for everything the Enlightenment was struggling to liberate itself from. The Church represented authority and restriction; it expounded a doctrine that could not be questioned, it told men what to believe and imposed on them a fixed view of the world and of their role in it. Whereas Enlightenment thinkers enthusiastically sought knowledge and gloried in the achievements and capacities of man, Christian morality was based on the original sin of tasting the fruit of the tree of knowledge, condemned the sin of pride and appeared to deplore most of man’s natural inclinations. It must not be forgotten, however, that rejection of Christianity did not necessarily mean rejection of God. While it is true that some of the more daring eighteenth-century thinkers saw atheist-materialism as the inevitable consequence of the new scientific thinking, the two great predecessors of the Enlightenment, Newton and Locke, had been able to reconcile their scientific and philosophical convictions with belief in God, and it was this kind of deism which seemed to most Enlightenment intellectuals to offer an acceptable compromise between the narrow authoritarianism of the Christian Church and the extreme of atheist materialism. There were of course various deistic positions, ranging from the belief in a remote God who created the universe but is totally unconcerned with man, to a providential and personal God, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s, very closely modelled on the God of Christianity. Rousseau (1712–78) indeed claimed he was a Christian. He accepted the sensationalist view of man, but was very conscious of the dangers of atheism and materialism, and saw himself as defending Christianity against the materialists; in the event, he managed to achieve the unique distinction of incurring the hostility of both Church and philosophes. The particular characteristic of his religion—expounded in the ‘Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard’, part of his work on education, Emile,—was the emphasis he placed on ‘conscience’, a divinely inspired interior voice in every individual which obviated the need for a church and its priests. In fact, Rousseau’s religion became immensely popular: his trust in conscience, his scepticism about miracles, his admiration for Christ combined with hesitation about his divinity, such views made it particularly attractive to Christians who had become converts to the anthropocentric rationalism of the Enlightenment. But the best representative of what one might call standard eighteenth-century deism is Voltaire (1694–1778), who was in many respects the dominant personality of the French Enlightenment, even if he was not a particularly original thinker. Voltaire, as we saw in the last chapter, kept abreast of developments in science, and was largely responsible for the popularizing in France of the thought of Newton and of Locke. But he took from them selectively, and in particular, if he welcomed Newton’s defence of the existence of God, at the same time he played down his tendency towards a certain mysticism. For this was Voltaire’s own position: despite a number of fluctuations in his thought, he maintained a firmly deistic stance, deeply opposed to atheism and materialism, while at the same time hostile to Christianity and largely impatient with metaphysics and any form of mysticism—so much so that critics have occasionally seen him (wrongly in my view) as a crypto-atheist. Shortly after he returned from exile in England, in 1734, Voltaire began to set down in one of his few theoretical works, the Traité de métaphysique, his views on a range of philosophical topics, starting with the demonstration of the existence of God. The first of his two proofs was the watchmaker argument, which had been used by Newton: if a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, the manifest order of the universe surely implies an intelligent creator; and if we accept that the hands of the watch have been constructed to show the time, it is reasonable to accept that the eyes, for example, have been designed by the intelligent creator for seeing. Voltaire’s second proof was the first cause argument: I exist, therefore something exists, therefore something has always existed; for either what exists is necessary and eternal, in which case it is God, or its being has been communicated to it by something else, to which the same argument applies. Since the material world is manifestly neither eternal nor unchanging, it is not necessary by itself but contingent, and must owe its existence to a being which is necessary, i.e. God. Similarly, movement, thought and feeling must all have been communicated to matter by God. Despite the apparent rigour of this argument, Voltaire was clearly much more attracted by his first proof, based on the marvellous order of the universe and the plausibility of final causes. He was not alone. It might be seen as paradoxical that the great strides that were being made in the natural sciences during the eighteenth century, while they contributed on the one hand to the undermining of theological explanations of the universe, at the same time generated an often mystical awe before the wonders of nature. Even more perhaps than the Newtonian order of the universe, it was the other end of the scale—the study of maggots, worms, insects—that seemed to reveal the admirable wisdom and ingenuity of God. The distinguished physicist and entomologist Réaumur (1683–1757), for example, especially in his Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes (1734–42), saw the organization and behaviour of insects as nothing short of miraculous, leading inescapably to admiration for their creator. Even Diderot was at first greatly attracted by this kind of argument, suggesting in the Pensées philosophiques ([10.3]) that the mere wing of a butterfly, let alone the whole universe, surely offers compelling evidence of an intelligent creator—though, as we saw in the last chapter, he soon abandoned it in favour of the creation by chance theory. Voltaire was particularly attached to the final cause argument as compelling evidence of the existence of a beneficent God (though it may be that it was a prior conviction that God was beneficent that made final causes seem so plausible). He recognized that the argument was not logically conclusive, it is true, but he saw it as providing a high indication of probability, constituting an appeal to common sense which it was only reasonable to accept—an approach to philosophy which he particularly favoured. To the objection that there is no proof, for instance, that stomachs are made for digesting, he retorted in the Traité de métaphysique that there is certainly no proof that they are not, and that common sense would surely suggest that they are. In short, in the Traité and other works of the same period, Voltaire pictured a universe created by a God who was, if not concerned solely for the welfare of the human race, at least benevolently disposed towards it along with the rest of his creation. As a corollary, too, this deist God had endowed all men with both an awareness of moral good and a disposition to act in accordance with it. Concern for morality had in fact been a central feature of Voltaire’s deism from the first, and belief in a universal innate moral sense, consisting of an injunction to obey an absolute ‘natural law’, was an article of faith to which he clung determinedly. In the face of a considerable body of apparent evidence to the contrary, he wriggled uncomfortably and unconvincingly: anthropological evidence of cannibalism, for instance, was explained away, and if in some tribes people ate their parents, it was no doubt to save them from being eaten by their enemies, or just a way (admittedly misguided) of honouring them. As for all the criminals in history, they were all secretly unhappy. But then, however, Voltaire’s faith in a benevolent God concerned with man and in the efficacity of a universal moral sense began to crumble, a development which was revealed particularly in a group of so-called ‘philosophic tales’ written from 1747 onwards. In Micromégas ([10.16]), for example, a gigantic traveller from the star Sirius is used as a vehicle for mocking the pretensions of the tiny inhabitants of this tiny planet, who wildly exaggerate their own importance in the universe. More frequently, however, this detachment was replaced by an expression of what sounds like Voltaire’s disappointment at the fact that God was less concerned with man, and man less inclined to be good, than he had previously believed. The Lisbon earthquake disaster in 1755, in which tens of thousands of people were killed, finally dealt a crucial blow to Voltaire’s belief in the perfect order of the universe, or at least confirmed his suspicions that the order that existed was neither relative nor relevant to man; and the outbreak of the Seven Years War the following year undermined still further his faith in a God-given universal moral sense. His most famous work, Candide (1759) ([10.16]), is the embodiment of this revised philosophical position. Conceived ostensibly as an attack on Leibnizian Optimism (though directed in practice rather at the popularized version of it in Pope’s Essay on Man (1733–4)), it proceeds by ridicule rather than refutation, continually mocking the doctrine of ‘the best of all possible worlds’ as it is taught by Candide’s tutor Pangloss, who is a disciple of Leibniz, and not only stupid, but too obstinate to admit that he is wrong about the best of all possible worlds, even when the grotesque disasters that befall him make him realize he is. Beneath the savage humour, however, Voltaire is making the serious point, consistent with the ideological approach of the Enlightenment, that experience should take precedence over metaphysics, and that experience of this world soon demonstrates that it is not the best of all possible worlds. We witness earthquake, war, rape, murder, and all kinds of brutality, ample evidence of an uncaring God and of the apparent absence, in many men at least, of any moral sense. Of course, the fact that everyone is not happy in the real world and that Candide and his friends suffer dreadful misfortunes in no way impinges on Leibniz’s principle of Optimism, or even, as Voltaire knew full well, on the notion that the universe as a whole is harmonious and ordered. But again adopting a standpoint characteristic of the Enlightenment, he is protesting that he is concerned with man rather than the universe; the benevolent God who is concerned with the universe rather than man is as irrelevant to man as man is to him. The point is made succinctly in the final chapter of Candide when the travellers go to consult a Turkish sage: in answer to their question about the existence of evil in the world, he asks them whether, when the King sends a ship on a voyage, he is worried about the mice in the hold. But this affirmation of man’s insignificance in the eyes of God was by no means Voltaire’s last word on the subject. It was difficult to use such a remote God as the foundation for a moral code which would fill the gap created by the rejection of Christianity, and Voltaire was becoming increasingly worried by the spread of atheism and materialism among the philosophes, and the dangerous moral consequences that would ensue if the loss of religion became more widespread. It seems likely that it was principally this preoccupation with morality that prompted him after Candide to return pragmatically to the God intimately concerned with man he had depicted in his earlier works, and even to the doctrine of final causes, which he had particularly ridiculed in Candide, and which amounted to saying that the world was arranged by God specifically for the convenience of man. In works such as Des Singularités de la Nature (1768) ([10.16]), totally resisting the current of evolutionary ideas that were beginning to be voiced and staying closer to Linnaeus than to Buffon, he expressed his conviction that there had been a once-and-for-all creation in which all things had been given their allotted place and purpose: just as the organs of the body had obvious functions, so too the mountains and the rivers (providing drinking water) were also evidence of divine providence. In return for this benevolence, God required obedience to the uncomplicated moral law of ‘Worship me and be good’, and rewarded and punished accordingly. Voltaire seemed to be convinced that without belief in this kind of punitive God, the moral order of society was gravely threatened. In short, ‘If God did not exist, he would have to be invented’ ([10.16], 10:403). Voltaire’s fear of the disastrous moral consequences of atheism was summed up with a wit that should not be mistaken for levity: ‘I want my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, and I suspect I shall thus be less robbed and less cuckolded’ (L’ABC, [10.16], 27:399–400). Voltaire’s assumption that atheists were more likely to be wicked than believers may not have had any empirical basis, but it was a deeply-held and widely-shared prejudice— despite Bayle’s demonstration as long ago as 1682 that it was without foundation. And the theoretical moral implications of atheist-materialism did indeed seem to be disturbing. More than anyone else, it was Diderot who, explicitly and repeatedly, spelled out these implications. As we saw in the last chapter, despite his reservations about Helvetius’s view of man, he did not demur from his conclusion that moral freedom is an illusion. And if this is the case, man cannot be held responsible for his actions: ‘if there is no freedom, there are no actions which deserve praise or blame. There is neither vice nor virtue, nothing which calls for reward or punishment’ (letter to Landois, [10.3], 19:436). The wicked man cannot be blamed for his wickedness, which is a determined characteristic like any other, the result of physical organization and environmental conditioning. The point is made with forceful clarity in an unsigned addition to the Encyclopédie article ‘Vice’, most probably by Diderot: ‘Can a man help being pusillanimous, voluptuous, or just irascible, any more than squint-eyed, hunch-backed or lame?’. It was the awareness of this apparent moral abyss which had initially deterred Diderot from wholeheartedly accepting the atheist materialism to which he was intellectually attracted, and which later led him to refrain from publishing his more daring works (such as the Rêve de d’Alembert). He illustrated the problem graphically in an incident in the allegorical Promenade du sceptique ([10.3]), written in 1747; Athéos, an atheist philosopher, and a man of virtue, convinces the symbolically blindfolded Christian of the error of his beliefs, and as a result the Christian throws off all moral restraint along with his blindfold, burns down Athéos’s house and steals his wife. The anxiety manifested in this little story is not dissimilar from Voltaire’s, and was probably shared by most of the philosophes. But the very expression of the anxiety paradoxically revealed their own attitude to virtue: it went without saying that they shared the same moral standpoint, that philosophers were virtuous, and that their atheism and materialism had not made them socially destructive. The problem was, then, other people: what would happen if those who were not philosophers should become converted to atheism? In fact, the Enlightenment view of man was an ambiguous one. Although Rousseau might be described as a kind of Enlightenment maverick, his philosophy was in this respect a distilled and emphatic version of that of most of his contemporaries: when he said that man was naturally good, he was referring to the essence of man, or to a primitive, pre-social man, long since vanished; as for actual existing men, that was a very different matter, as he felt he had all too good reason to know, and much of his work is devoted to analysing the unhappiness and corruption of the members of a modern society. Whatever other thinkers thought about the essence of man, they mostly seemed to agree that men in practice were inclined to be bad, in the sense of anti-social, or at least that a sufficient proportion of them were to constitute a moral and social problem. On the other hand, if Enlightenment thinkers attached so much importance to the liberation of man from the oppression of Christianity and the doctrine of Original Sin, it was because one of their fundamental principles was the right of man to happiness—Diderot indeed went so far as to say: ‘There is only one duty, and that is to be happy’ ([10.4], 320). Which was implicitly to approve of the self-interested behaviour identified by the materialist analysis of man. What had to be demonstrated was that self-interest was not necessarily antisocial. One approach was simply to claim that man was so constituted that he was naturally virtuous, in the sense of benevolently disposed towards his fellow men (or ‘bienfaisant’, as Diderot preferred to call it). In other words that self-interest led men, more or less automatically, to behave virtuously. This was in fact the thesis put forward in L’Homme machine (1748) by Julien Offroy de la Mettrie (1709–51): if he saw man as a machine, it was a very sophisticated machine, with a built-in moral sense and capacity for remorse, so that wrong-doers suffer as automatically as they do wrong. Remorse and conscience are, like thought, attributes of matter, and we distinguish good from evil as mechanically as we distinguish blue from yellow. La Mettrie’s well-intentioned attempt to resolve the problem was decidedly simplistic—one might have answered him that there seemed to be a great many faulty machines on the market—but rejection of the doctrine of Original Sin and its repressive consequences led most materialists to express views which were not fundamentally very different. Diderot continued throughout his life to reiterate the view he had expressed so baldly at the very beginning of his career, that ‘without virtue there is no happiness’, even though at the same time he accepted, realistically if regretfully, that he was speaking only for a portion of the human race. Arguing that the terms ‘virtuous’ and ‘wicked’, which imply moral responsibility, should be discarded, he classified people into two categories, the ‘fortunate by birth’ (‘heureusement nés’) and the ‘unfortu-nate by birth’ (‘malheureusement nés’). Whether one was constitutionally disposed to behave helpfully or harmfully to society was all a matter of chance. But this was clearly an unsatisfactory position, and Diderot continued to cling to the conviction that the ‘heureusement nés’ were the norm, even though they might not be in the majority, and that the ‘malheureusement nés’ were in some way deficient—which was not very different from Rousseau’s belief that man was ‘naturally good’. In practice, along with most of the other philosophes, although he demonstrated that people’s moral standards were acquired from experience rather than absolute, Diderot clearly believed in the existence of certain fundamental absolute moral criteria—very much like the universal morality which deists like Voltaire saw as coming from God. In reply to Helvetius, one of the few who steadfastly maintained that absolute justice and injustice do not exist, he asserted that the author of De l’esprit would have realized his mistake if he had paid more attention to the nature of man, and reflected that ‘anywhere in the world, he who gives something to drink to the man who is thirsty, and something to eat to the man who is hungry, that man is good’ ([10.3], 2:270). Such absolute moral criteria were determined by ‘the laws of nature’; for, as Diderot wrote in his Entretien d’un père, ‘nature has made good laws since the beginning of time’ ([10.3], 5:297). He and the other philosophes were very much given to attributing a will and intentions to nature in this way. To some extent, no doubt, it was no more than a linguistic convention, a convenient way of talking about the evolution of the material world; but it frequently verged on a quasi-mystical divinization of nature, which atheists like Diderot sometimes seemed to seize on as a replacement for the God they had dispensed with. However, the belief in some kind of absolute and universal code of morality still left unexplained the existence of so many who appeared to remain insensitive to it, the ‘malheureusement nés’. Diderot tended to see the attractiveness of virtue as a kind of aesthetic truth, accessible only to those who had appropriate taste. In a letter to Voltaire, he explained that atheists ‘could not, if they had good taste, put up with a bad book, nor listen patiently to a bad concert, nor tolerate on their wall a bad picture, nor commit a bad action’ ([10.5], 1:78). So that those who were capable of bad actions were lacking in ‘normal’ aesthetic sensitivity. Just such a one was Rameau, the materialist protagonist in Diderot’s brilliant dialogue Le Neveu de Rameau, and his interlocutor, the virtuous philosopher T, asks him how it is that despite his great sensitivity to ‘the beauties of the art of music’, he should be ‘so blind to the beauties of morality, so insensitive to the charms of virtue’ ([10.3], 5:468). (Rameau replies, of course, that it is all the result of environmental conditioning, heredity and physical constitution.) D’Holbach too saw it as a question of moral blindness. For him, the virtuous man has the inestimable reward of self-esteem, as he surveys his actions with the same pleasure that others would feel ‘if they were not blinded’ ([10.8], 1:321). But such explanations seem if anything to make the problem even more irreducible, for how can the morally blind be made to see? Fortunately, Diderot and d’Holbach both believed that virtuous behaviour brought with it advantages that could be perceived even by those who where not naturally inclined to love it—and it must be emphasized that it was behaviour rather than motivation that they were concerned with. In his letter to Landois, the very one in which he described so vividly the moral implications of materialism, Diderot claimed that wicked actions never go unpunished, because they lead inevitably to ‘the contempt of one’s fellow-men’, and that is ‘the greatest of all evils’ ([10.3], 19:435). The importance of the respect of other people was a point he came back to repeatedly, and he clearly believed that their disapproval was a deterrent to which all men were susceptible. D’Holbach’s view was much the same. Because his actions are seen as despicable by his fellow-men, or would be if they were known to them, the wicked man is always in his heart ashamed and unhappy, however great the material advantages of his wickedness ([10.8], 1:235–6). Conversely, the man who habitually behaves virtuously is motivated by the desire for the esteem of others, and for the consequent pleasure of self-esteem; but the force of habit becomes so strong that self-esteem alone will suffice to deter him from wicked actions, even if he could be sure of their remaining hidden, just as the person who has acquired the habit of cleanliness hates getting dirty (the choice of analogy speaks for itself ([10.8], 1:313–14). So that the wicked man is indeed blind, not just to the beauty of virtue, but to his own true interest; which is why we should pity him rather than blame him: ‘You pity a blind man; and what is a wicked man if not someone who has short sight and cannot see beyond the present moment?’ (Encyclopédie article ‘Vice’). But if he remains resolutely blind despite the experience which should have opened his eyes, what is to be done? The answer is obviously that he must be modified. Now this pragmatic solution had a sound philosophical basis. If, as the materialists argued, man’s behaviour is no more than the product of his physical organization and environmental conditioning, then it is clearly possible to modify it by modifying the conditioning. In the discussion of the subject in his humorous novel Jacques le fataliste, Diderot explains that Jacques ‘became angry with the unjust man; and when you objected to him that he was behaving like the dog who bites the stone that has hit him, he would reply: ‘“Not so, the stone bitten by the dog will not change its ways; the unjust man will be modified by the stick”’ ([10.3], 6:181). No doubt the stick was the most obvious way of modifying men’s behaviour. Although the philosophes all criticized the repressive nature of the society they lived in, they nevertheless recognized that even a just society would need punishments for the antisocial citizen. But it was consistent with their humanitarian attitude that they should put far more emphasis on methods other than the stick of modifying men’s behaviour. It was the human environment that was crucial. Rameau’s nephew, in Diderot’s work, suggests that one of the reasons why he is good at music but bad at morality may be that he has ‘always lived among good musicians and wicked people’ ([10.3], 5:468). The materialists all emphasized that habit was supremely important in human development. ‘Nature’, said Helvétius (1715–71), ‘is nothing other than our first habit’, and he reminded his readers that if they are horrified by the Romans’ enjoyment of gladiatorial combats, it is only as a result of their different upbringing, and that if they had been born in Rome, ‘habit’ would no doubt have made them find the same spectacle agreeable ([10.7], 191). It was then upbringing and education that, by inculcating habits, provided the principal means of modifying human behaviour. But it did not need Helvétius’ materialism to convince people of the importance of education and of the need to reform current practice. From the middle of the century onwards, in fact, discussion of the subject was very much in vogue, and it was a few years after De l’esprit, in 1762, that there appeared one of the most important works in the history of educational thought, Rousseau’s Emile ou de l’éducation. In many ways, Emile reflected the prevailing currents of Enlightenment thought. Rousseau’s enthusiasm for the goodness of nature was in general shared by most of the philosophes, despite their many ambiguities on the subject, and although the work was theoretically based on the natural goodness of man, he used this proposition as a way of demonstrating that education should consist above all in protecting the child from the corrupting influences of society—corresponding in practice to the programme suggested by Helvetius and d’Holbach. Rousseau accepted fully a sensationalism very close to Condillac’s (though he explicitly refuted the extreme position adopted by Helvetius), and the education of the young child reflected this, with much emphasis being laid on the development of each of the five senses, and especially on the relationship between sight and touch, in a manner very reminiscent of the Traité des sensations (see above, Chapter 9, pp. 239–40). In one important respect, however, Emile diverged from the thought of the other philosophes: much as he admired the virtuous citizens of ancient Greece and Rome, Rousseau declared at the outset that such an ideal was impossible to recreate in a corrupt modern society, and the aim of the work was the formation of an independent, self-sufficient individual rather than a citizen who functioned primarily as a constituent part of a social whole. But the reform of education, precisely because it accepted the structures of society as it then existed, was necessarily limited. The idea that man in contemporary society was necessarily corrupt was frequently expressed by the philosophes: Rousseau had demonstrated it in his Discourse on inequality in 1755, and when thinkers such as Diderot and d’Holbach attacked social and political injustice, they tended to adopt the same position, though in their case it was probably more of a polemical device than a deeply held conviction. But even if they held less extreme views than Rousseau on the subject, they shared his view about the urgent need for political reform, without which educational reform might seem to be little more than a palliative; Helvetius for example asserted that the two were so closely linked that it might well be impossible to make major changes in education without making corresponding changes ‘in the very structure of states’ ([10.7], 492). Political thought is fundamentally different from what one is tempted to call ‘pure philosophy’ in that it is rarely if ever concerned principally with the objective quest for truth (even when it purports to be), and is always dominated by a response to actual contemporary conditions. In the case of the philosophes, this response was, it is true, determined by certain humanitarian convictions, the right to happiness, usually seen as inseparable from freedom (variously defined, as we shall see), equality before the law, and so on, all arguably following logically from their moral anthropocentrism. At the same time, however, their political thought was first and foremost shaped by the abuses of the ancien régime, the manifest injustice of the extremes of wealth and poverty, the existence of privilege, inequality before the law, religious intolerance…, and in some cases, the consciousness of the urgent need for practical reform took precedence over theoretical considerations about the nature of government and the structure of society. It was above all Voltaire who came into this last category. He made virtually no attempt to systematize his political thought, which consisted largely of a series of pragmatic reactions to specific social problems. He shared the other philosophes’ humanitarian convictions about human rights, and hated injustice, oppression and intolerance; but his principles were always tempered by a sense of realism, even expediency. Early in his career, largely due to his exile in England following a quarrel with a powerful nobleman, he conceived great enthusiasm for the English system of constitutional monarchy (somewhat idealized). But when it came to the actual situation in France, he firmly supported an absolute monarchy, even though he recognized the risk of absolutism degenerating into despotism. For the only intermediate powers between King and people were the clergy, the aristocracy, and the Parlements (regional high courts with considerable powers, including the right to block legislation), all of which Voltaire saw as defending sectional interests and the abuse of privilege. His ideal was a strong enlightened monarch, but given the actual problems of government, the strength was perhaps more important than the enlightenment. In the conflict between the throne and the Parlements which dominated the latter years of the ancien régime, Voltaire was emphatically on the side of the throne, which he continued to see as offering the best chance both of initiating reform and of averting revolution. It is true that Voltaire’s very real sympathy for the sufferings of an oppressed people was always accompanied by the fear of popular disorder, and ultimately revolution, which underlay his desire for strong government as much as did his desire for reform— paralleling his belief in the need for a policeman god to discourage his tailor from robbing him. But behind his anxiety about disorder—shared by practically all the philosophes—his works reveal a fundamental desire to preserve existing social institutions, suitably reformed. He advocated religious toleration, freedom of the press, and the reform of criminal law, but the main burden of his political thought was the defence of the freedom and rights of the middle classes, inseparable from the protection of their property. Certainly he believed in kindness to the poor, but if he advocated equality before the law, he was not keen on too much social equality. Society could not exist, he argued in his Dictionnaire philosophique (article ‘Egalité’), without ‘a vast number of useful men who have no possessions at all’ ([10.16], 18:476), for who would till our fields and make our shoes if there were no poor? Fortunately most of the poor are too busy working to notice their plight, though when they do, this just leads to wars which they inevitably lose, ending up in a worse state than before. Nevertheless, one must bear in mind the essentially pragmatic nature of Voltaire’s thought and the practical limitations of contemporary society, and it could well be argued that his vigorous protests against oppression, his realism and his concentration on practical issues did more for suffering humanity, even in the long term, than the Utopian schemes of some of his contemporaries. The most important work on political science in the eighteenth century was surely De L’esprit des lois, published in 1748, by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689–1755). Although Montesquieu’s thought was no doubt triggered by the consciousness of contemporary problems, which he saw as largely the legacy of the arbitrary government of Louis XIV, he went further than anyone else in the century towards establishing a theoretical basis for the subject. Although he dismissed as absurd the notion that the world could have been produced by ‘a blind fatality’, seeing it as selfevident that intelligent beings must have been created by an intelligent God, his approach was in other respects very similar to that of the scientific materialists who sought to discover the underlying laws governing the behaviour of matter—indeed he also rejects as absurd the possibility of God operating on the world other than through these invariable laws. While recognizing that ‘the intelligent world’ was much less well governed than the physical world, Montesquieu believed nevertheless that it too had its underlying laws (Diderot’s ‘laws of nature’), preceding all laws made by men: with rather dubious logic, he argued that just as the radii of a circle were all equal before anyone had ever drawn a circle, so the notions of just and unjust (and by implication the obligation to behave justly) existed independently of any man-made laws. Rejecting Hobbes’s view of a wolf-man in a state of war, Montesquieu argued that primitive man would have been characterized by the consciousness of his weakness rather than by feelings of aggression, and he imagined the origin of society as lying in a natural sociability. But once societies had been formed, positive laws were needed to embody and supplement the fundamental laws, and these positive laws had to vary with the enormous variety of local circumstances. They must be appropriate to differences in climate and soil, in the situation and size of societies, in the way of life of peoples, their religion, their temperament, traditions, and so forth. It was the relationships between laws and all these different factors that Montesquieu proposed to study in the Esprit des Lois. There were, he observed, three forms of government, the republican, subdivided into democratic and aristocratic, the monarchic and the despotic, each with their distinct characteristics and guiding principles. He gave despotism, which he saw as based on fear, very short shrift, whereas, sharing as he did in the general Enlightenment enthusiasm for ancient Greece and Rome, he found much to admire in the republic, particularly in its democratic form. The guiding principle of the republic was virtue, which Montesquieu defined as love of the law, involving a preference for the public interest over private interest. But his admiration for the democratic republic was very theoretical, and he saw it as extraordinarily difficult to realize, even in the very small states to which alone it was suited. In practice, his clear preference was for monarchy, which has no need for virtue in the above sense, being based instead solely on ‘honour’, in other words on the pursuit of personal ambition and the desire for distinction, both natural traits. Love of the ‘patrie’ and self-sacrifice are simply replaced by laws, so that ‘each person works for the common good, believing he works for his individual interests’ (III, 7, [10.11], 27). When he visited England in 1729–30, Montesquieu had discovered what he saw as the ideal constitutional monarchy, based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, and this separation of powers was to become the guiding principle of his own proposed scheme of government. His criterion was political liberty (in contrast to the equality which characterized democracies): but since ‘any man who has power is led to abuse it’ (XI, 4, [10.11], 155), the only way political liberty can be safeguarded is by a system of checks and balances, based on the separation of powers. Montesquieu’s political thought has been described as a mixture of Cartesianism and empiricism. Certainly it contained a number of a priori elements, and proposed a mechanistic model of society, in which he seemed to have made the mistake of applying to human behaviour the invariability of cause-effect relationships characteristic of the material world, though in this he could be said to be closer to Condillac and Helvetius than to Descartes. Montesquieu’s great importance and originality, however did not lie in the model of government he proposed, but rather in his empirical, analytical approach to the subject. No doubt he was given to unwise generalizations and over-simplifications about the effect of climate and soil, etc., but in recognizing the relativity of truths about human nature, and in trying to discover the various laws determining the formation, structure and functioning of different kinds of society by observing and analysing actual societies (despite the inadequacies of his historical and anthropological knowledge), he was putting politics on a modern scientific footing and virtually creating sociology. It is true that, politically speaking, Montesquieu defended the privileges of the aristocracy and his system of checks and balances seemed to produce an equilibrium which was essentially static, militating against any kind of change. But as far as France was concerned, this model represented for him a vast improvement over the degenerate government of Louis XV, and he certainly shared the humanitarian hostility of the philosophes to injustice and oppression. He fiercely attacked despotism and even more slavery, especially of the blacks: how can we believe that ‘god, who is a very wise being, should have put a soul, above all a good soul, in a body that was entirely black’?, he asked ironically (XV, 5, [10.11], 250). And he did believe in the possibility of progress and reform, in the ability of a good government to modify its citizens. When he described the effects on men of different climates, for example, his attitude was far from passive: if the effects were bad (when, for instance, an extreme climate led men to be lazy or women immodest!), it was up to the legislator to correct them. ‘Bad legislators’, he wrote, ‘are those who have favoured the vices of the climate and good ones are those who have opposed them’ (XIV, 5, [10.11], 236). The influence of De l’Esprit des Lois on Montesquieu’s contemporaries seems to have been immediate, widespread and very selective. While the philosophes welcomed his scientific approach to politics, they tended to reject precisely the innovative political sociology, based on relativism and the introduction of variables. Human nature for Condillac, Helvetius and even for the more subtle Diderot, had fixed characteristics (always and everywhere the same needs and desires) and was thus modifiable in an entirely predictable way: a given cause would always produce a given effect. So politics became a simple extrapolation from scientific psychology: all the legislator had to do was construct society in accordance with human nature. Now if Virtue’, in the form of a preference for the general good over personal good, is indeed natural, as Diderot, for example, sometimes claimed, this will present no problem. The real difficulty for the organization of society is the existence of the morally blind or defective citizens, and the solution, as with personal morality, is provided by the modifiability of man inherent in sensationalist psychology. Civic virtue can of course be stimulated by the same means used to encourage virtuous behaviour at the personal level, and especially by the formation of good habits by education. The point was made repeatedly by Helvétius, as well as by d’Holbach, for whom education was the principal way of ‘giving to the soul habits which are advantageous for the individual and for society’ ([10.8], 1:287). And Morelly, in his utopian Code de la Nature, saw moral transformation by education as a prerequisite for the creation of the ideal society. But even without moral transformation, there are qualities in men condemned by conventional (Christian) morality, which, properly used, can be socially constructive. Instead of trying to suppress human passions such as ambition and the desire for wealth, said d’Holbach, society (as in Montesquieu’s ideal monarchy) should make the most of them and turn them to its advantage ([10.8], 1:147); and in the Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, Diderot showed that the sexual drive, far from being anti-social, made an invaluable contribution to society if, as was then generally believed, prosperity was dependent on population size. In any case, people will behave virtuously if they can see that it is in their own interests. So society, by using the carrot rather than the stick, should make it worth people’s while to behave virtuously. The trick, as Diderot pointed out in one of his dialogues, is to construct society in such a way that ‘the good of individuals is so closely linked to the general good, that it is almost impossible for a citizen to harm society without harming himself ([10.3], 2:517). D’Holbach too stressed that in the wellgoverned society, each citizen would be convinced that the ‘well-being of the parts could result only from the well-being of the body as a whole’ ([10.8], 1:319). And Helvétius also had made much the same point. A recurrent theme in De l’esprit had been that ‘the virtues and vices of a people are always a necessary effect of its legislation’ ([10.7], 325): Helvetius quoted many examples to demonstrate that the extraordinary incidences of civic virtue in the history of Ancient Rome and Sparta were the result of ‘the skill with which the legislators of these nations had linked individual interest to the public interest’ ([10.7], 324). Indeed, it was precisely the absence of such a link in the modern state (in other words France) which caused the alienation of modern man vividly described by d’Holbach, a man who had no feeling of involvement in the society in which he lived, and who, in the words of both Diderot and Rousseau, was ‘neither man nor citizen’. As for the actual political structure of society, the confidently rationalist approach of the philosophes, tending to make them see truth as absolute and indivisible, led them to reject Montesquieu’s checks and balances and to see an absolute indivisible monarchy as the only logical ideal; intermediate bodies, they argued, would represent sectional interests, which might well differ considerably from the interest of the community as a whole. The intellectual objectivity of this theoretical analysis might, however, be seen as highly suspect, given that it coincided conveniently with the view that the philosophes shared with Voltaire that the principal source of injustice and oppression in France was the abuse of power and privilege on the part of the Church, the aristocracy and the Parlements. Diderot, in the Encyclopédie, and d’Holbach both maintained that sovereignty belonged to the people as a whole, and was entrusted by them to a ruler by a kind of contract, explicit or tacit; sovereignty acquired without the consent of the people was merely a usurpation, which would last only as long as the superiority of strength which initiated it. Furthermore, the two philosophes argued, the consent could never be unconditional: the object of government could only be the well-being and happiness of the governed, and the use by a sovereign of the powers entrusted to him to make a people unhappy was, in Diderot’s words, ‘a manifest usurpation’ (Encyclopédie, article ‘Souverains’), or, as d’Holbach put it, ’nothing but banditry‘ ([10.8], 1:336). But history convinced the philosophes that this, alas, was all too likely to happen, and that, to quote d’Holbach again, this time echoing Montesquieu, ‘man is always tempted to abuse power’ ([10.8], 1:145). Having rejected Montesquieu’s solution of the separation of powers, they opted instead for assemblies representing the people to advise the monarch, since, as the Encyclopédie article ‘Représentants’ (by Diderot or possibly d’Holbach— scholarly opinion is divided) explained, this is the only way the good sovereign can be made aware of the needs of all his subjects. And to avoid the representatives themselves losing sight of their responsibilities, they would have to be regularly elected. But only by those subjects who own property: ‘it is property which makes the citizen: every man who owns something in the State is interested in the good of the State’. Diderot, d’Holbach, Helvetius were all agreed that those who did not own property in a state could not possibly have a serious interest in its prosperity, and should not therefore have any say in its government, just as, conversely, one of the first responsibilities of a ruler or ruling body must be the safeguarding of private property. The general interest of a society lay for d’Holbach in the three advantages which just laws should guarantee for the majority of its citizens, liberty, property and security—and even the latter was defined as the right to protection by the laws of a law-abiding citizen’s person and property. Private property was also at the very centre of the system proposed by the physiocrats, a school of thinkers who had come together as a group by about 1760, and who saw economics as the key to politics. Like the philosophes, they believed that the organization of society was governed by the same kind of fixed ‘natural’ laws as the material world, but for them these laws related essentially to trade. The founder of the school, François Quesnay (1694–1774), himself a doctor, saw the circulation of wealth in society performing the same function as the circulation of blood in the body. Their system involved the simplest form of government, an absolute monarchy, and a minimum of laws: starting from the premise that agriculture, and thus ownership of land, constituted the original source of all wealth, their implicit optimism concerning human nature led them to believe that the complete freedom of trade would result in the self-regulating balance of supply and demand as men realized their interdependence, creating prosperity and happiness for all. Rather than Quesnay, however, it was Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–81), a distinguished civil-servant and subsequently statesman, who gave these ideas their most lucid expression, and whose version of them was the most perceptive. In a remarkable anticipation of both Adam Smith and Marx, as well as twentieth-century theories of entrepreneurial capitalism, his Reflections on the Formation and the Distribution of Wealth (written 1766–7) developed an economic system firmly based on an historical sociological analysis which showed that societies operated according to predictable laws of cause and effect. The economic cycle begins with the surplus produced by the ‘Husband-man’ ‘over and above his personal needs’ ([10.15], 122), and the continued cultivation of land, the industry and the commerce necessary for the health of a society all depend on the circulation of money, which occurs in various ways. And it was an essential feature of Turgot’s system that the different uses of capital will tend ‘naturally’ to achieve the ideal equilibrium necessary for the maximum benefit to society, though this will only occur where trade is untrammeled by restrictive laws, especially in the form of taxes. Turgot’s belief that man is so constituted that society tends naturally to perfect itself was not confined to the sphere of economics. In his Discourse On Universal History, he showed how, driven to action and thus to progress by the passions, in other words the urge to satisfy needs, and passing through violent fluctuations in its fortunes, ‘the human race as a whole has advanced ceasely towards its perfection’ ([10.15], 72). It is true that he had rather more confidence than most of his contemporaries in a natural evolution of society towards something like perfection, though the philosophes in general were optimistic about the future of mankind. But the most systematic exponent of the perfectibility of human society was Antoine-Nicolas de Condorcet (1743–94), whose Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain, was written, ironically, while he was in hiding after his proscription by the Revolutionary government consequent on his own involvement in politics. The Esquisse divided the history of man into successive ages, revealing a story of continual progress achieved over the centuries despite an unending battle with the forces of reaction, represented mainly by the Church. But now, as scientific knowledge of man and the universe continued to increase, and as men became progressively more enlightened, Condorcet believed, with what now looks like touching simplicity, that the end of the battle was at last in sight. It would be achieved by a mixture of natural development and positive legislation. He accepted to some extent Turgot’s vision of a self-regulating economic system based on free trade, but he also believed in the necessity of governmental intervention to protect the weak and the poor. In fact, the removal of social and even natural inequalities was central to his idea of progress: he attacked slavery, argued for the equality of women (very much an exception during the Revolutionary period), and above all advocated universal education, on which his ideas (free elementary education for both sexes, teaching children to think for themselves, the independence of teachers, etc.) were admirably enlightened even by late twentieth-century standards. Whereas Condorcet thought optimistically that society was already well on the road to perfection, however, there were in the second half of the eighteenth century a number of egalitarian political thinkers whose utopias involved a far greater transformation of society (though not, usually, a violent one) than was to be brought about merely by the French Revolution. The earliest and most interesting of these was Morelly (about whom virtually nothing is known), who envisaged in his Code de la Nature (1755) a gradual return, facilitated principally by a reform of moral education, to the ideal natural state in which men had been motivated solely by the benevolence produced in them by an awareness of mutual need. In modern society, ‘natural probity’ has become debased by the growth of avarice, man’s one fundamental vice from which all others derived; and it was avarice that led to the existence of private property, which was, as Morelly emphasized throughout, the root of all social evil. In the ideal society, all land and all products of the land would remain common, all other goods would be distributed by laws according to need. These principles were embodied in the ‘Modèle de législation conforme aux intentions de la Nature’ which concluded the Code de la Nature. Nothing would be sold or exchanged, but all produce would be taken to the Market Place, where people would simply take whatever they needed. All citizens would engage in agriculture from twenty to twenty-five; and all would marry as soon as they reached puberty, with celibacy permitted only after forty. There would be a minimum of penal laws, but life imprisonment would be the punishment for serious crimes such as murder, or any attempt to introduce ‘la détestable propriété’ ([10.12], 323). The eccentric Benedictine, Dom Léger-Marie Deschamps (1716–74), whose ideas impressed both Diderot and Rousseau, also focussed on property as the source of all moral evils. In Le Vrai Système, written about 1770, he contrasted society as it is, which he described as the state of laws, based on property, with the utopian state of ‘moeurs’, the state of morality. In the absence of private property, all land, all women would belong to all (all men, too, though he makes less of this); even mothers and children would be common, with those women who were able to suckling any babies, or indeed any old men, ‘who would grow strong and be rejuvenated from their milk’ ([10.2], 171). In the state of ‘moeurs’, all would be equal and completely united, with the good of society as their only aim. Every factor in society causing differences between individuals would be suppressed: children would not be taught to read or write, all books would be burned, all works of art destroyed. Without desires or passions, through days that were always the same, people would live in total tranquillity, with no personal attachments, indifferent to death, never laughing or crying. The individual would become totally subsumed in the general, existing in a mystical state of harmonious oneness. Now it was a characteristic of virtually all the political thinkers we have been discussing that they glossed over the conflict between the individual’s natural desire for liberty and the political need for the individual to be subordinated to the state, by assuming that it was in some way natural for a naturally sociable man to prefer the general interest to his own, or at least that an enlightened reason would lead him to realize that his own interest was dependent on that of the state. Rousseau, whose political thought is discussed in detail elsewhere in this volume, was the exception in seeing natural man and social man or the citizen as diametrically opposed. In his Second Discourse (1755) Rousseau had argued that the origin of inequality among men, and thus of their corruption and unhappiness, had been the introduction of private property, which led to rivalry and the replacement of natural self-love (amour de soi) by self-preference (amour-propre). But he always recognized that the state of primitive innocence was irrecoverable, and postulated two alternative solutions to the woes of alienated modern man: one, the aim of Emile, was to attempt to create by education a modern version of natural man, adapted to live in society as it is; the other was a total reorganization of society, to create a democratic republic inspired principally by the city states of the ancient world, which he described in his Social Contract (1762). Self-oriented natural man would have no place in such a society; the ideal citizen, said Rousseau, must lose all sense of self and be concerned only with the common weal. There was nothing natural about this abnegation, which must be inculcated by the laws and civic education. Political freedom consisted for Rousseau in willing the general good, so that some people will have to be forced to be free by the laws which embody the general will. Nothing contrary to the general will must be permitted, so there can be no freedom of thought in the usual sense of the term. There will be a state religion and no other, decreeing the sanctity of the laws and outlawing intolerance (!): anyone unwilling to accept its doctrine will be banished, and anyone who, having accepted it, behaves as if he had not, will be executed. It seems highly probable that this highly theoretical construct represented nothing more for Rousseau than a systematic logical application of a number of speculative principles, and the dichotomy in his thought between a theoretical ideal and the possibilities of the real world was reflected in one way or another in the political ideas of most of the philosophes. In considering the ideal society, they could not escape from the realization that the existence of private property, the defence of which was for them a cardinal principle of political freedom, was incompatible with real (and not just political) equality. From time to time, Diderot indulged in utopian egalitarian flights of fancy, clearly influenced by Morelly and Deschamps, as for instance in the idealized Tahitian society of the Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville. In reality, though, he recognized that this kind of thinking was pie in the sky, and just like Voltaire, d’Holbach, Helvetius and indeed Rousseau, he continued to see the protection of private property as a sine qua non of the just and healthy society. Not only must property be a prerequisite for citizenship, but it was indispensable for the material prosperity, based on commerce and industry, which the Enlightenment thinkers were so enthusiastic about. The ideal of most of the philosophes was a materially prosperous property-owning democracy with a minimum of inequalities, and though they talked much about the sovereignty of the ‘peuple’, it was clear that in the majority of cases what they meant by ‘peuple’ was the bourgeoisie rather than anything like the Marxist proletariat. Be that as it may, the philosophes were none the less vigorously opposed to injustice and oppression, and more specifically to the political regime they lived in. The Enlightenment was fundamentally a movement of intellectual challenge to authority on every level, and nothing any longer was sacred, especially not religion. But the farreaching practical implications of the challenge to political authority made it a rather different matter from, say, rejecting the Church’s doctrine on free-will or virtue, and at least to begin with, the philosophes were opposed to violent revolution. They wanted change, but peaceful, structured change. However, as hope for constitutional change in France seemed to recede and the enlightenment of Frederick the Great and Catherine of Russia looked more and more like a façade, the theme of the legitimacy of revolt against the abuse of power appeared ever more frequently in the works of Diderot and d’Holbach. The notion of the sovereignty of the people, and the associated one of a contract between people and ruler led directly to the conclusion that when the contract was broken by the ruler, the people were entitled to overthrow him. As d’Holbach wrote in 1767: ‘Since the Government draws its power only from the society, and is established only for the latter’s good, it is obvious that the society can revoke this power when its interest dictates, and change the form of its government’ ([10.8] 1:141). Yet this justification of revolution was always a reluctant one, on Diderot’s part at least, and the overriding concern for the rule of law which he and others had expressed in the Encyclopédie never left him. In his Supplément an Voyage de Bougainville, having demonstrated that the laws governing the structure of society in a country like France were nonsensical, he nevertheless concluded by urging conformity to them, since ‘the worst form of society’ is the one in which ‘the laws, good or bad, are not observed’ ([10.3], 2:240). Most of the major thinkers of the French Enlightenment had died by the outbreak of the Revolution, but it is tempting to wonder what they would have written about it if they had survived. Condorcet, despite ending up its victim, still wrote a work expressing his faith in progress and the perfectibility of man, but one suspects that the humanitarian advocates of freedom and tolerance would for the most part have been somewhat disappointed, at least by the savage later stages of the Revolution. Whether or not their confidence in the progress of science and knowledge would have survived twentiethcentury strides in the destruction of the environment and creation of weapons of mass destruction must remain open to conjecture. BIBLIOGRAPHY Eighteenth-century Works 10.1 Condorcet, Antoine-Nicolas de Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain, Garnier-Flammarion, Paris, Flammarion, 1988. 10.2 Deschamps, Dom Leger-Marie Le Vrai Système, ed. J.Thomas and F.Venturi, Geneva, Droz, 1963. 10.3 Diderot, Denis Oeuvres complètes, ed. J.Assézat and M.Tourneux, Paris, 1875–77. 10.4——Oeuvres politiques, ed. P.Vernière, Classiques Garnier, Paris, Garnier, 1963. 10.5——Correspondance, ed. G.Roth and J.Varloot, Paris, Editions de Minuit, 1955–70. 10.6 Encyclopédie, ed. Diderot and d’Alembert, Paris, 1951–80. 10.7 Helvétius, Claude-Adrien De l’esprit, Marabout-Universite, Verviers, Gerard, 1973. 10.8 d’Holbach, Paul Thiry, Baron Le Système de la Nature, London, 1770, Slatkine Reprints, Geneva, 1973. 10.9 La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de Textes choisis, Les Classiques du peuple, Paris, Editions sociales, 1954. 10.10 Montesquieu, Charles de Secondât, Baron de Oeuvres complètes, Paris, Editions Nagel, 1950. 10.11——The Spirit of the Laws, trans. and ed. A.M.Cohler, B.C.Miller and H.S.Stone, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989. 10.12 Morelly, Code de la Nature, ed. G.Chinard, Paris, R.Clavreuil, 1950. 10.13 Raynal, Guillaume Histoire philosophique et politique des deux Indes, Geneva, 1780. 10.14 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques Oeuvres complètes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 1959–69. 10.15 Turgot, Anne-Robert-Jacques On Progress, Sociology and Economics, trans. and ed. R.L.Meek, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1973. 10.16 Voltaire, Oeuvres complètes, ed. L.Moland, Paris, Garnier, 1877–85. 10.17——Traité de metaphysique, ed. H.T.Patterson, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1937. General Studies 10.18 Cassirer, E. The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, trans. F.C.A. Koellen and J.P.Pettegrove, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1951. 10.19 Cobban, A. In Search of Humanity, London, Cape, 1960. 10.20 Crocker, L.G. An Age of Crisis, Baltimore, John Hopkins Press, 1959. 10.21——Nature and Culture, ethical thought in 18th century France, Baltimore, John Hopkins Press, 1963. 10.22 Gay, P. The Enlightenment: an interpretation, 2 vols, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966–9. 10.23 Goyard-Fabre, S. La philosophie des lumières en France, Paris, Klincksieck, 1972. 10.24 Leroy, M. Histoire des idées sociales en France, vol. 1, Paris, Gallimard, 1946. 10.25 Martin, K. French Liberal Thought in the 18th Century, ed. J.P.Mayer, London, Turnstile Press, 1962 (first pub. 1929). 10.26 Talmon, J.L. The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, New York, Norton, 1970. Critical Studies on Individual Authors 10.27 Benot, Y. Diderot, de l’athéisme à l’anticolonialisme, Paris, Maspero, 1970. 10.28 Burgelin, P. La philosophie de l’existence de Rousseau, Paris, Presses Universitaires, 1952. 10.29 Carcassonne, E. Montesquieu et le problème de la Constitution française au XVIIIe siècle , Paris, Presses Universitaires, 1927. 10.30 Crocker, L.G. Diderot’s chaotic order: approach to synthesis, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1974. 10.31——Diderot the embattled philosopher, London, N.Spearman, 1955. 10.32 Diderot, les dernières années, ed. France and Strugnell, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1985. 10.33 France, P.Diderot, Past Masters, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1983. 10.34 Gay, P. Voltaire’s Politics: the Poet as Realist, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1959. 10.35 Hermand, P. Les idées morales de Diderot, Paris, Presses Universitaires, 1923. 10.36 Lefèbvre, H. Diderot, Paris, Editeurs réunis, 1949. 10.37 Mason, H.T. Voltaire, London, Hutchinson, 1975. 10.38 Mason, S. Montesquieu’s idea of justice, The Hague, Nijhoff, 1975. 10.39 Pomeau, R. La religion de Voltaire, Paris, Nizet, 1956. 10.40 Proust, J. Diderot et l’Encyclopedie, Paris, A.Colin, 1962. 10.41 Strugnell, A. Diderot’s Politics, The Hague, Nijhoff, 1973. There are also numerous relevant articles in the following specialist journals: 10.42 Diderot Studies, Syracuse, then Geneva, Droz, 1949–. 10.43 Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Geneva, then Oxford, 1955–.

Routledge History of Philosophy. . 2005.

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