Encyclopedists

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Encyclopedists

 

the authors of the French Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers (published 1751–80). The Encyclopédie was conceived and edited by D. Diderot and J. D’Alembert. Its contributors included Voltaire, E. de Condillac, C. Helvétius, P. Holbach, J.-J. Rousseau, A. Turgot, G. Raynal, G. Buffon, and various progressive scholars, scientists, writers, and engineers.

The Encyclopedists differed in their philosophical and sociopolitical views. They included deists as well as materialists and atheists, and adherents of “enlightened absolutism” as well as advocates of the republican form of government. They did, however, share such characteristics as the desire to overcome the conservative principles of feudal society, hostility toward the clerical ideology, and the need to substantiate their rational world view. The Encyclopedists played an important role in the ideological preparation for the French Revolution, and their work fostered social and scientific progress. As spokesmen for the progressive ideas of their age, the Encyclopedists were persecuted by the feudal authorities and the clergy.

REFERENCES

Duprat, P. Les Encyclopédists, leurs travaux, leurs doctrines et leur influence. Paris, 1866.
Ducros, L. Les encyclopédistes. Paris, 1900.
Proust, J. Diderot et l’Encyclopédie. Paris, 1962.
Proust, J. L’Encyclopédie. Paris, 1965.

B. E. BYKHOVSKII

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