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Philosophical Dictionary (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,260 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
A masterpiece of Enlightenment-era literature, this collection of brief essays constitutes a thought-provoking analysis of 18th-century social and religious conventions. Voltaire intended to entertain as well as to enlighten, and his sardonic wit lends a modern feeling to these writings on God, mortality, the church, freedom, justice, and other timeless concerns.
Paperback, 438 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Barnes & Noble (first published 1764)
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Darran Mclaughlin
Wonderful. This book exemplifies everything positive about the enlightenment. Voltaire is clear, crisp, witty and learned. He was a formidable enemy of the establishment, wielding his immense reading, logic and irony like a scalpel, cutting through the obfuscation and bullshit of the aristocracy and church. Nietzsche admired him and he shares his lively, sprightly, literary style, which contrasts with the heavy, ponderous style of most German philosphy. Unfortunately French philosophers abandone ...more
Mohammadjavad Abbasi
شاید از عنوان کتاب فکر کنیم با یک دایرةالمعارف حجیم مواجه هستیم ولی این کتاب یا بهتر بگویم کتابچه تنها شامل چهل وسه مقاله کوتاه از ولتر است

در خواندن آثار چنین متفکران چیزی که بیشتر باید مدنظر قرار گیرد تاثیری است که عقاید آن ها بر جامعه خویش و تحولات فکری داشته اند.ولتر از بزگترین متفکران قرن 18 فرنسه است و نظرات او در انقلاب کبیر فرانسه موثر بوده و بسیاری از انقلابیون ارمان ها و اهداف انقلاب خود را از همین کتاب او گرفته اند.مهم ترین نظرات ولتر در مبارزه با خرافات دینی و رها شدن از سلطه کلیسا بر
May 19, 2015 Bjorn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
As much as I love Candide, and as clever and funny and still relevant as Voltaire often is in this series of rants, something annoys me about it (beyond just the ridiculous antisemitism). Someone said that Voltaire would have been a very prolific blogger today, and this certainly reads like that; unfortunately I can't shake the feeling that Voltaire would have been the sort of smugly self-obsessed blogger who thinks everyone else is completely irrational while his prejudices are perfectly logica ...more
Jon Laiche
Aug 18, 2012 Jon Laiche rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helped to direct and define my career as scholar, historian, teacher, techie, and modern pagan.
Il titolo dell'opera mi ha ingannato, sebbene la colpa sia soltanto mia: filosofico mi ha fatto pensare alla logica, all'ontologia, alla gnoseologia, branche della filosofia che mi interessano in misura notevolmente maggiore rispetto alla teologia e alla filosofia della religione; tuttavia, proprio a questi due campi, insieme all'etica (malamente trattata), appartengono la maggior parte delle voci. Così, gli appassionati di religione troveranno moltissimo materiale di loro interesse, scrupolosam ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Leonardo marked it as to-read-in-part  ·  review of another edition
Historia de las Ideas de la Modernidad. Unidad 4.
Oct 01, 2014 Alonso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hard to write a better review than the ones read in here, but i guess i'll just mention that i had to recommend it to all my 'friends' here in goodreads. it is, imo, a must read for anyone who reads.
Lane Wilkinson
An irreverent look at 18th century intellectualism by one of the masters of satire. Apologetic theology never had it so rough.
Sarah Echo
Jun 28, 2015 Sarah Echo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The issues explored in this book are still relevant today. I found myself agreeing with a lot of his views, especially those on Tolerance and Beauty. His definition of beauty, of its relativism, is often repeated today: “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This is of course true, but often forgotten in today’s Hollywood-obsessed world. We are barraged by images of stick-thin models and actresses and told that this is the standard of beauty. The truth is, there is no standard of beauty. Even V ...more
Ali Makki
Jun 10, 2016 Ali Makki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book from the period of enlightenment by a great philosopher who employed the method of critical inquiry to expose the implausibility of widely-held religious doctrines, thus, destroying the illusion that we already comprehend the world perfectly.
He rejects the absurd and wicked claims of the religious and calls for finding answers in the marvels of science and the higher and deeper reaches of literature and for honestly accepting the fact of our ignorance as vital steps toward our acqui
Alex Rubenstein
Oct 23, 2013 Alex Rubenstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He asks great questions--insightful and preternatural for his time. A complement to Candide on a larger scale of philosophy, but troubling in its contradictions that I am surprised he himself did not catch. Voltaire clearly presents himself as a devoutly religious individual with immense respect for God. He presents now defunct arguments (per evolution and natural selection) about the existence of God as fact based on the beauty of the universe and faculties of man to behave in his environment. ...more
Melinda McLaughlin
Apr 04, 2007 Melinda McLaughlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Ok so it isn't really a novel, so it's hard to really mean "loved it", because who loves an encyclopedia, right? Wrong! It's a brilliant critical analysis of life during the French Enlightenment - notable entries being "Christianity", "Atheism", "Love", so many more! Do yourself a favor, get it, and then read it over a period of time. It's definitely not something I could read all in one sitting, but maybe a few entries per day. Voltaire's wit and sarcasm really cannot be beat, particularly in t ...more
This book and Voltaire himself are a delicate balance of some of the most dangerous traits. Let me start with this book: there are some sparkles of extremely daring and destructive philosophical statements in this book (e.g. [Caractère] and [Guerre]), but it's merged within an ocean of prejudices, superstitions and double standards -- which Voltaire wouldn't acknowledge since he's so "enlightened" -- and personal resentments. This combination of contents is the most dangerous of all, since it wo ...more
G.K. Noyer
Oct 03, 2015 G.K. Noyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the must reads by Voltaire, and even more interestingly, his second-most popular book in 18th century America, right during the decade we adopted freedom of beliefs.

I have little to add to some of the rave reviews herein on this book except that the anti-antisemitism suspicions it sometimes raises are unfounded. Voltaire was anti-biblical, not antisemitic, and anyone who suspects otherwise should really add to his or her reading of this book Voltaire's "Treatise on Tolerance", written th
Jeremy Egerer
Jun 26, 2014 Jeremy Egerer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most entertaining books I've ever read -- and essential to anyone who wants to live a reasonable life. Voltaire isn't always perfect: his analyses of Biblical figures are half brilliant and half slanderous; but if you want a man committed to the end of all superstition, and the pursuit of human brotherhood and tolerance, Voltaire is your man. Sarcastic, poetic, powerful.
Sep 24, 2011 اویس rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the entries in this dictionary were very enlightening and I have to say I had to revise a number of incorrect beliefs which I had,besides it was a very cleverly constructed book and I can understand why it must have been a revolutionary read for its time..Merci Voltaire!
Gabriele Romano
Aug 13, 2015 Gabriele Romano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
il nome del libro può trarre in inganno. Chi cerca un dizionario contenente le voci dell'entologia, esistenzialismo, etc,... insomma tutte le voci e i rami della filosofia, rimarrà deluso. Questo libro rachiude tutte voci sulle questioni di vita: religione, amore, sesso, amicizia etc... in cui Voltaire, massimo esponente dell'illuminismo da una spiegazione razionale basandosi anche su molti cenni storici. E' evidente l'influenza di Voltaire che darà negli anni seguenti a Nietzsche ma il filosofo ...more
Morris Nelms
Oct 18, 2013 Morris Nelms rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might be my favorite philosophical work ever. Voltaire has the rare gift of being accessible, funny, and deep all at once.
I have a audiobook version that I've listened to repeatedly. Great stuff.
Diderot and Voltaire are my two favourite Enlightenment philosophers. What I like particularly about Voltaire is his mischievous sense of humour. Much has been written about his wit and his irony so its a pity that the central place humour occupied within the Enlightenment is so rarely appreciated. I guess for every Voltaire, playful, irreverent there's two or three Bentham's, serious, matter of fact, dryly rational. I do enjoy the thought that The Enlightenment could of been philosophy's greate ...more
Peut-etre suffise cette: " La Foi consiste à croire, non ce qui semble vrai, mais ce qui semble faux à notre entendement."
Brendan Boehning
Endlessly re-readable and still distinctly relevant, with all the wit and irony one could hope for. Essential
Christian Callari
Out with old, in with the new. The clashing of ages. This book could have been written yesterday.
Jan 24, 2009 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luís Garcia
Jan 24, 2016 Luís Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clássicos, filosofia
(lido em Lampang, Tailândia)

--Philosophical Dictionary

Jan 07, 2016 Sole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 17, 2015 Cecilia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like his exposition in defence of free speech....but sometimes Voltaire did go on and on abit and his "rant" about was "hardly" unbiased....from a french man....:)

Though of course, he had better dress-sense...back in the days....nobody liked those grotty white english stockings....for men! :P

Oxford World's Classics. John Fletcher, translator, with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Cronk. 978-0-19-955363-1

Picked back up on 24 April 2014; should have been On Hold for a good while.

Finally finished this. I enjoyed it but I do not have enough knowledge of Voltaire to know what he says that is his view versus satire versus pleasing the authorities and so on.
Clancy Coonradt
Oct 07, 2015 Clancy Coonradt rated it it was amazing
A well rounded book. It does well to create questions that stir thought about topics that are often left alone due to their sensitive or misunderstood nature.
Steve Scott
Feb 19, 2013 Steve Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of Voltaire's ideas are dated, but this is still worth taking the time to read. He's had a perceptive and agile, and provocative mind. He truly was one of the great writers of his age. I found myself pulling quotes out of it and posting them as my Facebook status.

And it's free! I got this off iTunes for nothing.
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Complete works (1880) :
In 1694, Age of Enlightenment leader Francois-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, was born in Paris. Jesuit-educated, he began writing clever verses by the age of 12. He launched a lifelong, successful playwriting career in 1718, interrupted by imprisonment in the Bastille. Upon a second imprisonment, in which Francois adopted the pen na
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“Common sense is not so common.” 1349 likes
“Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.” 381 likes
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