In French Baby Names the meaning of the name Pascaline is: Born at Easter.
Is Pascaline male or female name?♀ Pascaline as a girls name. The name Pascaline means passover. Pascaline is an alternate form of Pascale (French, Hebrew).
What does Jeovany mean?In Latin Baby Names the meaning of the name Jeovany is: Form of Jovan Father of the sky.
What does Wyatt mean in French?Boy name origins & meanings Old English, French : Little warrior, water.
What does the name Pascaline?French Baby Names Meaning: In French Baby Names the meaning of the name Pascaline is: Born at Easter.
What is a nickname for Wyatt?For those who are looking for a shortened version, theres always the adorable Wy. Similar names to Wyatt include Asher, Zeke, and Calder.
Is Wyatt an English name?English: from the medieval personal name Wiot, Wyot, Gyot, which derives from the Old English personal name Wigheard, composed of the elements wig war + heard hardy, brave, strong. Under Norman influence it was also adopted as a diminutive of both Guy 1 and William.
Is Wyatt a bad name?In other words, Wyatt is a bad-ass. Its almost like Wyatt Earp was destined to have such a name – as Sigmund Freud said, our names are perhaps a “piece of our soul”. In any case, Wyatt was a name made famous to Americans by Wyatt Earp (for more detail on Wyatt Earp, see historical references below).
Is Wyatt a gender neutral name?Wyatt isnt just an androgynous name, its an opposite-sex name, says Wattenberg. ... Parents never choose opposite-sex names for boys.
Blaise Pascal 1623—1662 Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, inventor, and theologian. In mathematics, he was an early pioneer in the fields of game theory and probability theory. In philosophy he was an early pioneer in existentialism. As a writer on theology and religion he was a defender of Christianity. Despite chronic ill health, Pascal made historic contributions to mathematics and to physical science, including both experimental and theoretical work on hydraulics, atmospheric pressure, and the existence and nature of the vacuum.
As a scientist and philosopher of science, Pascal championed strict empirical observation and the use of controlled experiments; he opposed the rationalism and logico-deductive method of the Cartesians; and he opposed the metaphysical speculations and reverence for authority of the theologians of the Middle Ages.
It was during the period from 1656 until his death in 1662 that he wrote the Lettres Provinciales and the Pensées. The Lettres Provinciales is a satirical attack on Jesuit casuistry and a polemical defense of Jansenism. The What does Pascaline mean in French? does Pascaline mean in French? is a posthumously published collection of unfinished notes for what was intended to be a systematic apologia for the Christian religion. Along with his scientific writings, these two great literary works have attracted the admiration and critical interest of philosophers and serious readers of every generation.
This is largely attributable to his intriguing, enigmatic personality. To read him is to come into direct contact with both his strangeness and his charm. It is also to encounter a tangle of incongruities and seeming contradictions. Modern readers are usually shocked to discover that the father of gambling odds and the mechanical computer wore a spiked girdle to chastise himself and further mortify a body already tormented by recurrent illness and chronic pain.
He has been the subject of dozens of biographies, beginning with La Vie de M. Pascal, the brief hagiographic sketch composed by his sister Gilberte Périer shortly after his death in 1662 and first published in 1684.
The implied form is that of a well-made play with classic five-act structure. First of all, at no point during his lifetime was Pascal ever a libertine or libre-penseur. Similarly, since Pascal was a lifelong supporter of the Catholic faith, and since he also maintained an interest in scientific and mathematical problems well after his commitment to Jansenism and Port-Royal, it seems unfair to portray his final years as a betrayal of his scientific principles rather than as an intensification or culmination of his religious views.
Early Years Blaise Pascal was born on June 19, 1623, in Clermont now Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne region of central France. His parents were Étienne Pascal 1588 — 1651a magistrate, civil servant, and member of the aristocratic and professional class known as the noblesse de robe, and Antoinette Bégon Pascal 1596-1626the daughter of a Clermont merchant.
Pascal was named for his paternal uncle as well What does Pascaline mean in French? for St. Blaise, the 3rd-century Armenian saint martyred by having his flesh flayed by iron carding combs as his namesake would later punish his own flesh by wearing a belt studded with sharp nails. Étienne, in addition to being a lawyer, public official, and tax administrator, was proficient in Latin and Greek, a dabbler in natural philosophy, and an expert mathematician.
Jacqueline displayed an early literary genius and earned acclaim as a poet and dramatist before becoming a nun at Port-Royal. Pascal was a sickly child who suffered various pains and diseases throughout his life. According to a family anecdote related by his niece, at age one he supposedly fell victim to a strange illness.
His abdomen became distended and swollen, and the slightest annoyance triggered fits of crying and screaming.
This affliction supposedly continued for more than a year, and the child often seemed on the verge of death. The woman reportedly fell to the floor and promised to divulge everything if her life would be spared. She confessed that in a moment of anger and resentment she had cast a spell on the What does Pascaline mean in French?
— a fatal spell that could be undone only by having it transferred to some other living creature. Supposedly the family cat was given to her and made a scapegoat for the otherwise doomed child. But that Pascal endured a serious and potentially fatal childhood illness during which his parents desperately tried all kinds of fanciful cures and treatments seems very likely. According to Gilberte, after his 18 What does Pascaline mean in French? birthday Pascal never lived a day of his life free What does Pascaline mean in French?
pain or from some sort of illness or medical affliction. The most common medical opinion is that he contracted What does Pascaline mean in French? tuberculosis in early childhood and that manifestations of the disease, along with signs of possible concurrent nephritis or rheumatoid arthritis, recurred periodically throughout his lifetime. The accounts of his pathology are also consistent with migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia — a complex of illnesses often found together and which also frequently occur in combination with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and emotional distress.
Scholarly interest in this matter involves more than just idle curiosity and medical detective-work. Affliction and disease, physical or emotional trauma, a natural disadvantage or disability have often served as an added motive or accelerator for high-level creative achievement. Examples abound — from the ancient legend of the blind and vagabond Homer to the documented histories of modern creative figures like Isaac Newton, Van Gogh, Stephen Hawking, and Christy Brown.
In 1631, a few years after the death of his wife, Étienne sold his government post a common practice of the day along with most of his property and moved with What does Pascaline mean in French? children to Paris. Young Pascal was taught Latin and Greek as well as history, geography, and philosophy — all on an impromptu schedule, including during meals and at various hours throughout the day. Civil and canon law were also part of a varied curriculum that included study of the Bible and the Church Fathers.
He taught his son his own cardinal principle that whatever is a matter of faith should not also be treated as a matter of reason; and vice-versa.
It is a tenet that Pascal took to heart and followed throughout his career. In the belief that, once exposed to mathematics, his son would be so captivated by it that he would forsake or ignore his other studies, Étienne determined to withhold instruction in math and geometry until Pascal had completed the rest of his training. However, upon discovering that the boy had already achieved an intuitive understanding of the discipline including his own independently worked out demonstration of a proof in Euclid, Étienne acquiesced.
A passionate student who delved earnestly into each new subject, he absorbed new material, including, at a later period, the most arcane and technical components of theology quickly and effortlessly.
However, his learning, while deep in a few areas, was never broad and was in some ways less remarkable for what it included than for what it What does Pascaline mean in French? out. In addition, because of the sequestered, hermetic, entirely private form of his schooling, he never experienced any of the personal contacts or opportunities for social development that most young people, including even novice monks in monastic schools, commonly do. To what extent this may have deformed or limited his social and interpersonal skills it is hard to say.
He was known to be temperamentally impatient with and demanding of others while sometimes seeming arrogant and self-absorbed. At a later point in his career, he fully acknowledged his deficiencies and indeed chastised himself for his social ambition and intellectual vanity.
Pascal was not widely read in the classics or in contemporary literature. Though he was well acquainted with Aristotelian and Scholastic thought, philosophy for him consisted mainly of Epictetus, Montaigne, and the traditional debate between Stoicism and Epicureanism. But whatever he may have lacked in physical education, humanistic studies, and art appreciation, Pascal more than made up for in his favored pursuits. In fact, so rapidly did he advance in physics and mathematics that Étienne boldly introduced the boy at the age of only thirteen into his small Parisian academic circle known as the Acad émie libre.
The central figure of this group was the polymathic philosopher, mathematician, theologian, and music theorist Père Marin Mersenne, one of the leading intellectuals of the age. Mersenne corresponded with Descartes, Huygens, Hobbes, and other luminaries of the period and actively promoted the work of controversial thinkers like Galileo and Gassendi. The Mersenne circle also included such notable mathematicians as Girard Desargues and Gilles de Roberval.
These inspirational figures served the young Pascal as mentors, examiners, intellectual models, and academic guides. It was during his involvement with the Mersenne circle that Pascal published, at age sixteen, his Essai pour les Coniques, an important contribution to the relatively new field of projective geometry. Around the same time that Pascal was working on his Theorem, Étienne, who had at one time served as an adviser to Cardinal Richelieu, incurred the wrath of the First Minister by leading a protest over a government bond default.
Threatened with prison, he sought refuge in Auvergne. For no sooner was Étienne returned to royal favor than Richelieu appointed him the chief tax administrator for Rouen.
Rouen was a city in crisis, beset by street violence, crop failures, a tax revolt, and an outbreak of plague. Pascal meanwhile seems to have been little affected by the change of scene and continued with his mathematical studies. He also undertook a new project. Setting to work on the idea in 1642, he eventually conceived, designed, and oversaw the construction of what was presented to the public in 1645 as la machine arithmétique, later known as the Pascaline.
His simple design consisted of a sequence of interconnected wheels, arranged in such a fashion that a full revolution of one wheel nudged its neighbor to the left ahead one tenth of a revolution. Over the next five years he continued tinkering with his design, experimenting with various materials and trying out What does Pascaline mean in French? linkage arrangements and gear mechanisms.
Nine working models survive today and serve as a reminder that Pascal was not just a mathematical Platonist absorbed in a higher world of pure number but also a practical minded, down-to-earth engineering type interested in applying the insights of science and mathematics to the solution of real-world problems. First Conversion On an icy day in January of 1646, Étienne Pascal, in his capacity as a public official, was summoned to prevent a duel that was to take place in a field outside Rouen.
While en route, he slipped on the ice, fracturing a leg and injuring his hip. The family called in two local bonesetters, the brothers Deschamps, who moved into the Pascal household for a period of three months to care for Étienne and oversee his recovery. The brothers turned out to be members of the small, saintly community of Augustinian worshippers established at Port-Royal by the Jansenist priest Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, more simply known as the abbé Saint-Cyran.
The Jansenists named for the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen accepted the strict Augustinian creed that salvation is achieved not by human virtue or merit but solely by What does Pascaline mean in French? grace of God. At Port-Royal they practiced an ascetic lifestyle emphasizing penance, austerity, devotional exercises, and good works. While treating Étienne, the Deschamps brothers shared their stringent, exacting, and somewhat cheerless religious views with the Pascal What does Pascaline mean in French?.
Pascal himself, along with his father and sisters, had never displayed much in the way of genuine religious fervor. They were good upper-middle-class Catholics, mild and respectful in their beliefs rather than zealous, neither God-fearing nor, to any extraordinary degree, God-seeking. Yet the ardor of the Deschamps brothers proved contagious. Gradually, with growing assurance, and eventually with complete sincerity and conviction, Pascal embraced the Jansenist creed.
She also asserts that at this time Pascal formally renounced all his scientific and mathematical researches and ever afterward devoted himself entirely and exclusively to the love and service of God. In the spring of 1647, partly on the advice of his physicians, he returned to Paris where he linked up once again with former colleagues and began organizing several new essays and treatises for publication.
His supposed renunciation of natural philosophy and the bright world of Parisian intellectual life had lasted all of six months. It was not a period of debauchery and libertinism or anything of the kind. Although he showed an occasional weakness for silk and brocade and enjoyed the amenities of both a valet and a coach-and-six, Pascal did not become a salon habitué or even much of a bon vivant. He was simply a young man who sought the company of fellow experts, savored the spotlight of recognition for personal achievement, and delighted in the social world of learned conversation and sparkling intellectual debate.
Several commentators on the Pens ées argue that the work is directly aimed at the culture of honnêteté and that it specifically targets figures like Méré and Mitton, that is, persons who seek a life of virtue and happiness apart from God. Shortly after his return to Paris in 1647 and during a turn for the worse in his health, Pascal reunited with his old circle of friends and fellow intellectuals and was also introduced into polite society.
Descartes himself paid a visit and according to reports wisely suggested that Pascal follow a regimen of bed-rest and bouillon rather than the steady diet of enemas, purgings, and blood-lettings favored by his doctors. The historic meeting between the two scientific and philosophical rivals reportedly did not go well.
To escape the mob havoc and pervasive military presence in Paris, Pascal returned to Clermont along with his sisters, brother-in-law, and father. There he effectively inserted himself into the Auvergne equivalent of Parisian high society and resumed his temporary infatuation with la vie honnêteté.
He returned to Paris in 1650, reconnected with his old friends, and began revising and polishing several scientific papers, including portions of a never completed or partially lost version of his Treatise on the Vacuum.
On September 24, 1651, Étienne died; he was 63. Pascal and Jacqueline were at his bedside. Gilberte was in Clermont awaiting the birth of a child who would be named Étienne Périer in honor of his grandfather. However, the letter includes a note of affection for the man who had taken personal charge of his What does Pascaline mean in French?
and who was the first to introduce him to the world of science and mathematics. Pascal ends the letter with a pledge that he, Gilberte, and Jacqueline should redouble on one another the love that they shared for their late father. In the summer of 1654 Pascal exchanged a series of letters with Fermat on the problem of calculating gambling odds and probabilities. It was also at this time although many have doubted his authorship that he completed his Discourse on Love.
And according to at least two of his biographers Faugère and Bishop it was during this same period 1653-54 that Pascal himself fell victim to amorous passion and even contemplated marriage supposedly to the comely Charlotte de Rouannez, his frequent correspondent and the sister of his good friend the Duke. According to various sources, none wholly reliable, in October of 1654, Pascal was supposedly involved in a nearly fatal accident while crossing the Pont de Neuilly in his coach.
His affrighted horses reportedly reared, bolted, and plunged over the side of the bridge into the Seine, nearly dragging the coach and Pascal after them. Fortunately, the main coupling broke and the coach, with Pascal inside, miraculously hung on to the edge and stabilized.
Sigmund Freud accepted the story and even used it as an example of how severe trauma can trigger an obsessive or phobic reaction. However, there is no conclusive evidence that the event ever happened. This dual record, known as the Memorial, he kept sewed into the lining of his jacket as a kind of secret token or private testament of his new life and total commitment to Jesus Christ.
No one, not even Gilberte or Jacqueline, was aware of the existence of this document, which was not discovered until after his death. The text of the Memorial is cryptic, ejaculatory, portentous. Deum meum et Deum vestrum. Ton Dieu sera mon Dieu. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars.
Certitude, certitude, feeling, joy, peace. My God and your God. Thy God will be my God. And so on, in a similarly ecstatic vein for about eighteen more lines. I shall not forget thy word. His account, despite its brevity and gnomic style, accords closely with the reports of conversion and mysticism classically described and analyzed by William James. In the weeks leading up to November 23, 1654, Pascal had on several occasions visited Jacqueline at Port-Royal and had complained, despite his active social life and ongoing scientific work, of feelings of dissatisfaction, guilt, lack of purpose, and ennui.
As in the story of his carriage accident by the Seine, he seemed to be a man teetering on the edge — in this case between anxiety and hope. Final Years After his conversion Pascal formally renounced, but did not totally abandon, his scientific and mathematical studies.
He instead vowed to dedicate his time and talents to the glorification of God, the edification of his fellow believers, and the salvation of the larger human community. In fact, hardly had Pascal committed himself to Port-Royal than the Jansenist enclave, never secure and always under the watchful suspicion of the greater Catholic community, found itself under theological siege.
Antoine Arnauld, the spiritual leader of Port-Royal and the uncompromising voice and authority for its strict Augustinian beliefs and values, was embroiled in a bitter controversy pitting Jansenism against the Pope, the Jesuit order, and a majority of the bishops of France.
In effect, opponents charged that the entire Jansenist system was based on a foundation of error. At issue were matters of Catholic doctrine involving grace, election, human righteousness, divine power, and free will. Arnauld denied the charges and published a series of vehement counter-attacks. Unfortunately, these only served to make the hostility towards himself and the Port-Royal community more intense.
He ended up being censored by What does Pascaline mean in French? Faculty of Theology at the Sorbonne and stood threatened with official accusations of heresy.
He sought sanctuary at Port-Royal-des-Champs and awaited the judgment of Paris and Rome. With the official voice of Port-Royal effectively muted, the cause of Jansenism needed a new champion. Pascal stood ready to fill the role. During the period 1656-57, under the pseudonym Louis de Montalte, he produced a series of 18 public letters attacking the Jesuits and defending Arnauld and Jansenist doctrine. The Lettres provinciales, as they became known, introduced an entirely new tone and style into contemporary theological debate.
From time to time, the genre had served as a forum for obfuscation, vituperation, abstruse technical language, and stodgy academic prose.
They also featured a popular idiom and conversational tone and made use of literary devices such as characterization, dialog, dramatization, and narrative voice.
They became a sensation and attracted the amused attention of readers throughout France. Who, people wondered, is this clever fellow Montalte? The Jesuits, stunned and slow to respond, seemed to have met their intellectual match. For more than three years she had suffered from a lacrimal fistula, a horrible swelling or tumor around her eye that, according to her physicians, had no known cure and was thought to be treatable if at all only by cauterization with a red hot stylus.
The seeming miracle excited the Pascal family and the entire Port-Royal community; news of the event soon spread outside the walls of Port-Royal and around the nation. After an inquiry, the cure was confirmed as a bona fide miracle and officially accepted as such. Port-Royal rejoiced, and for a while the antagonism against it from the larger Catholic community abated. Pascal regarded the What does Pascaline mean in French?
as a sign of divine favor for What does Pascaline mean in French? Lettres project and for the cause of Jansenism in general. It also confirmed his belief in miracles, a belief that would form part of the foundation for his view of religious faith as set forth in the Pens ées. Despite the auspicious sign of heavenly favor, and even though the Lettres were brilliantly successful in the short term, they failed in their ultimate goal of vindicating Arnauld and Port-Royal.
In 1661 What does Pascaline mean in French? monastery was no longer allowed to accept novices. Early in the next century the abbey would be abolished, the community of worshippers disbanded, and the buildings What does Pascaline mean in French?. Overwhelmed by a combined force of royal politics and papal power, Port-Royal would lie in ruins and Jansenism, though it would inspire a few random offshoots and latter-day imitations, would find itself largely What does Pascaline mean in French?
to an interesting but brief chapter in the history of French Catholicism. Meanwhile, in What does Pascaline mean in French? spring of 1658, as he was studying the Bible and doing preparatory work for what was to be his magnum opus — the great Apology for Christianity that would become the Pensées — Pascal turned his attention once again to mathematics and to the problem of the roulette or cycloid. She also claims that the solution to the problem, which had challenged the likes of Galileo, Torricelli, and Descartes, came to him almost despite himself and during a bout of sleeplessness caused by a toothache.
What is known is that when Pascal, under the pseudonym Amos Dettonville, What does Pascaline mean in French? did publish his solution, which was done within the context of a contest or challenge that he What does Pascaline mean in French? thrown out to some of the best mathematical minds of Europe, the result was a controversy that occupied his time and energy for several months and which distracted him from working on his new project.
Originally conceived as a comprehensive defense of the Christian faith against non-believers, the work in its existing form is a rich assortment of notes, fragments, aphorisms, homilies, short essays, sermonettes, and aperçus that even in their disorganized and unfinished state constitute a powerful and fascinating contribution to philosophy, theology, and literary art. Pascal worked determinedly on the Pensées to the extent that his health permitted him, which was unfortunately not very often or for very long.
By early 1659 he was already seriously ill and could work for only short spurts before succumbing to mental and physical exhaustion. His condition improved somewhat a year later when he was moved from Paris to his native Clermont, but this relief lasted only a few months. When he returned to Paris he mustered enough energy to work out his plan for a public shuttle system of omnibuses for the city. When this novel idea was realized and put into actual operation in 1662, What does Pascaline mean in French?
had the first such transit system in the world. According to Gilberte, he regarded any sort of dining pleasure or gastronomic delight as a hateful form of sensuality and adopted the very un-Gallic view that one should eat strictly for nourishment and not for enjoyment.
He championed the ideal of poverty and claimed that one should prefer and use goods crafted by the poorest and most honest artisans, not those manufactured by the best and most accomplished. What does Pascaline mean in French? purged his home of luxuries and pretty furnishings and took in a homeless family.
He even cautioned Gilberte not to be publicly affectionate with her children — on grounds that caresses can be a form of sensuality, dependency, and self-indulgence. In his opinion, a life devoted to God did not allow for close personal attachments — not even to family.
During his last days he burned with fever and colic. His doctors assaulted him with their customary cures. He wavered in and out of consciousness and suffered a series of recurrent violent convulsions. However, Gilberte attests that he recovered his clarity of mind in time to make a final confession, take the Blessed Sacrament, and receive extreme unction. Even post-mortem Pascal was unable to escape the curiosity and intrusiveness of his physicians.
Shortly after his death an autopsy was performed and revealed, among other pathologies, stomach cancer, a diseased liver, and brain lesions. Nor after death, was he granted peace from the still ongoing crossfire between Jesuits and Port-Royal. Was Pascal, it was asked, truly orthodox and a good Catholic?
A sincere believer and supporter of the powers of the Pope and the priesthood and the efficacious intervention of the Saints? Did he reject the Jansenist heresy on his deathbed and accept a more moderate and forgiving theology? His works have fared better, having received, during the three and a half centuries since his death, first-rate editorial attention, a number of superb translations, and an abundance of expert scholarly commentary.
The Pensées and the Provincial Letters have earned him a place in the pantheon of French philosophical non-fiction alongside names like Montaigne, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Sartre. Literary and Religious Works a. Their aim was to defend the Jansenist community of Port-Royal and its principal spokesman and spiritual leader Antoine Arnauld from defamation and accusations of heresy while at the same time leading a counter-offensive against the accusers mainly the Jesuits.
Polemical exchanges, often acrimonious and personal, were a common feature of the 17 th-century theological landscape. Pascal ventured into this particular fray with a unique set of weapons — a mind honed by mathematical exercise and scientific debate, a pointed wit, and sharp-edged literary and dramatic skills.
The five propositions can be stated as follows: 1. Even the just, no matter how hard they may strive, lack the power and grace to keep all the commandments. In our fallen condition it is impossible for us to resist interior grace. In order to deserve merit or condemnation we must be free from external compulsion though not from internal necessity.
It is heresy to say that we can either accept grace or resist it. Christ did not die for everyone, but only for the elect. Two separate questions were at stake: 1 Are the propositions actually in Jansen, if not explicitly and verbatimthen implicitly in meaning or intention?
This was the so-called question of fact de fait. This was the question of right or law de droit. The Port-Royal position was yes in the case of the second question, no in the case of What does Pascaline mean in French? first. Despite the fact that he disavowed any support for the five propositions, he and the Port-Royal community as a whole stood under suspicion of secretly approving, if not openly embracing them. Such was the situation that Pascal found himself in when he sat down to compose the first provinciale.
What he produced was something utterly new in the annals of religious controversy. In place of the usual fury and technical quibbling, he adopts a tone of easy-going candor and colloquial simplicity. Through devices of interview and dialogue Montalte manages to present these issues in relatively clear, understandable terms and persuade the reader that the Jansenist and Thomist views on each are virtually identical and perfectly orthodox.
He goes on to show that any apparent discrepancy between the two positions — and in fact the whole attack on Jansenism and Arnauld — is based not on doctrine, but is entirely political and personal, a product of Jesuit calumny and conspiracy.
In effect, a complicated theological conflict is presented in the form of a simple human drama. Irony and stinging satire are delivered with the suave aplomb of a Horatian epistle. Not all of the provinciales deal with the same issues and concerns as the first.
In fact some of the later letters, far from being breezy and affable, are passionate and achieve sublime eloquence; others are downright vicious and blistering in their attack. Letters 1-3 offer a defense of Arnauld, challenging his trial and censure. Letter 4, pitting a Jesuit against a Jansenist, serves as a bridge between provinciales 1-3 and 5-10. Letters 5-10 attack Jesuit casuistry and doctrine; in them Montalte accuses the Society of hypocrisy and moral laxity and of placing ease of conscience and the glory of the Order above true Christian duty and love of God.
Letter 14 includes an extended discussion of both natural and divine law and makes an important ethical distinction between homicide, capital punishment, and suicide. In Letter 17, a virtual reprise and summation of the case of the five propositions, he repeats once again that he writes purely as a private citizen What does Pascaline mean in French?
denies that he is a member of Port Royal. Since Pascal was neither a monk nor a solitaire within the community, the claim is technically accurate, though it arguably leaves him open to the same charges of truth-bending and casuistry that he levels against the Jesuits.
Although the Letters gained a wide readership and enjoyed a period of popular success, they failed to achieve their strategic goal of preserving Port-Royal and Jansenist doctrine from external attack. They also had a few unfortunate, unintended consequences. They were blamed, for instance, for stirring up cynicism, disrespect, and even contempt for the clergy in the minds of ordinary citizens. After the publication of the provinciales, the term Jesuitical would become synonymous with crafty and subtle and the words casuistry and casuistical would never again be entirely free from a connotation of sophistry and excuse-making.
Today, the provinciales retain documentary value both as relics of Jansenism and as surviving specimens of 17 th-century religious polemic, but modern readers prize them mainly for their literary excellence. They represent the original model not only for the genre of satirical non-fiction, but for classic French prose style in all other genres as well.
Rabelais and Montaigne were basically inimitable and far too quirky and idiosyncratic to serve as a style model for later writers. Can an act be both voluntary and irresistible? Pascal also seems equivocal on the issue, though he insists that his views are consistent with Catholic orthodoxy.
He wrestled with the problem of grace and free will not only in the Letters, but also in portions of the Pensées and especially in his Écrits sur la grâce 1657-58where he offers an extensive commentary on Augustine and compares the Calvinist, Jansenist, and Jesuit views. However, even there his account is abstruse and theological rather than blunt and philosophical and is thus of interest mainly to specialists rather than general readers.
Plan and Purpose of the Work and its Textual History The Pensées are a rarity among literary and philosophical works — a magnum opus by a major author that has achieved classic status despite being unfinished, fragmentary, and almost scrapbook-like in form. Sainte-Beuve compared the work to What does Pascaline mean in French? tower in which the stones have been piled up but not cemented. The text, as we have it today, represents the assembled notes, fragments, miscellaneous aphorisms, and short essays-in-progress of what was to be a detailed and comprehensive Apology for Christianity — a defense of the faith against atheism, deism, libertinism, pagan philosophy, and the cult of honnêteté.
Inspired by the force and certainty of his own conversion and by the late excitement of the Holy Thorn, Pascal was further encouraged by the recent success of the provinciales. Confident in his powers of argument and persuasion, both logical and literary, he felt called upon to undertake a bold new project. The new work was to be nothing less than a definitive affirmation and justification of Christianity against its detractors and critics.
It would also be an exercise in spiritual outreach and proselytization — an earnest appeal, addressed to both the reason and the heart, inviting scoffers, doubters, the undecided, and the lost to join the Catholic communion. In the Pensées, Pascal would assume the role of both Apologist and Apostle. In the spring of 1658, he presented a detailed outline of his project, explaining its scope and goals, to an audience of friends and members of Port-Royal. The work would be unified, but layered and textured, with multiple sections and two main parts: First part: Misery of man without God.
Second part: Happiness of man with God. Second part: That there is a Redeemer. The project was designed as an example of what is today termed immanent apologetics. He will instead appeal to the unfolding history of the Christian faith from its roots in Old Testament prophecy through its early development to the modern Church. In essence, Pascal will leave it to readers to decide whether his account of the human condition and his descriptions of their social and physical worlds not as they might wish them to be, but as they actually experience them in our daily lives are credible and persuasive.
If the reader accepts his accounts, Pascal will be halfway to his goal. It will remain for him to further convince readers that the solution to our wretchedness, to the disorder and unfairness of life, is acceptance of Jesus Christ. To support this claim, he will offer historical evidence in its favor from the authority of Scripture and ancient witnesses, and also in the form of miracles, prophecies, and figural typological hermeneutics.
However, he admits that this evidence will not be conclusive — for Christianity can never be proved by reason or authority alone.
Such in essence was the plan. Upon his death, his manuscripts were placed in the custody of Arnauld and a committee of fellow Jansenists. While transcribing the manuscripts, the committee produced two variant copies.
Prosper Faugère brought out a revised and authoritative edition of the work in 1844. Several new editions, with different arrangements of the material, appeared over the next century. Philosophical Themes Death, God, infinity, the nature of the universe, the limits of reason, the meaning of life — these are just a few of the big ideas and philosophical topics that Pascal reflects on in the short space of the Pensées. Yet even with its multiple subject headings and wide range of topics, the work can still be read as the deep exploration of a single great theme: the Human Condition, viewed under its two opposing yet interrelated aspects — our wretchedness without God, and our greatness with Him.
Pascal argues that without God our spiritual condition is essentially a state of misery characterized by anxiety, alienation, loneliness, and ennui. He suggests that if we could only sit still for an instant and honestly What does Pascaline mean in French? within ourselves, we would recognize our desperation. However, we spend most of our time blocking out or concealing our true condition from ourselves via forms of self-deception and amour-propre.
Like Augustine before him, Pascal accurately describes mechanisms of denial and ego-defense long before they were clinically and technically defined by Sigmund Freud. They may even consist of pastimes that are basically innocent, but which are nevertheless vain, trivial, or unedifying, for example, sports like tennis and fencing.
So are all the luxuries, consumer goods, and worldly delights with which we proudly surround ourselves. According to Pascal, we use these goods and activities not, as we self-flatteringly suppose, to certify our achievements or add a touch of bonheur to our inner life. On the contrary, we use them mainly as a way of concealing our bleak inner reality from ourselves and from one another. They are a means of denying our own mortality and hollowness.
Between Misery and Grandeur In effect diversions prevent us from acknowledging our essential misery. They create a false sense of security that hides the abyss or vacuum within. On the other hand, wretchedness and insecurity are only part of our nature. We are one part misery and one part grandeur; and alongside our feelings of isolation and destitution we also have a profound sense of our intrinsic dignity and worth.
For thought, he argues, is the whole basis of our dignity, the What does Pascaline mean in French? of our nature that elevates and separates us from the rest of the material universe. But the title is appropriate, since the work as a whole could well be described as an extended meditation on human consciousness, on what it means to think. Critical Approaches and Interpretation Criticism and interpretation of the Pensées have followed two main approaches.
The first, which could be called the conventional or historical approach, is the one favored by most literary scholars and historians of religion, including most notably Philippe Sellier, David Wetsel, and Jean Mesnard.
According to this view the Pensées are to be understood within the context and framework of traditional Christian apologetics. In particular, they argued, Pascal aims to convert the contemporary free-thinker and honnête homme — that is to say, a figure much like his friends Mitton and Méré and indeed not unlike a secular, rationalistic, and worldly version of himself. Although he was neither a literary scholar nor a historian of religion but more like a cantankerous version of eachVoltaire seems to have read and understood the Pensées in this traditional way.
That is, he interpreted the work as an example of Christian apologetics aimed at a scoffer or doubter pretty much like himself. To the claim that the human condition is one of anxiety and wretchedness, he responds that we are neither as wicked nor as miserable as Pascal says.
He even suggests that Christianity would be better off without such strained and overwrought apologetics, which he compared to trying to prop up an oak tree by surrounding it with reeds. The poet and critic T. Eliot, in his 1933 introductory essay to the Pensées, also interprets the work in this traditional way. That is, it presents a cri de coeur or cri de triomphe that provides a direct look into the heart and soul of a penitent former sinner who, after a long and agonizing struggle, finds Christ and renounces the world.
They also offer different interpretations of the audience or addressee of the work. Are the Pensées a dramatic monologue? A private confession addressed to God? A dialog between Pascal and the reader? Are they truly intended to convert a Méré or a Mitton, and are they addressed only to skeptics and those lacking faith?
Or are they meant also as a meditative exercise and inspiration for active Christians, a spiritual tool to help guide believers and strengthen their faith? Or perhaps Pascal, in the manner of St. Paul, is trying to be all things to all people and thus to a certain extent trying to do some or all of the above at the same time? The great Victorian critic Walter Pater compares the Pensées to Shakespearian tragedy and notes that Pascal is not a converted skeptic or former infidel who has seen the light.
Pascal was proclaimed a heretic and a Calvinist during his lifetime and has been called everything from a skeptic to a nihilist by modern readers.
Echoing a criticism formerly made by Voltaire, Valéry likens Pascal to a tragic poet who portrays the human condition as much bleaker and harsher than it actually is; who describes the fears and torments of life vividly, but who depicts its delights and joys, its moments of excitement and intensity, hardly at all.
New Testament antitype; reason vs. Those polarities are homologous with and paralleled by the larger historical oppositions of the period: the new science vs. Viewed in this way, the Pensées can be seen to encapsulate and effectively dramatize the main intellectual and social dynamics of an entire era.
The Wager One of the more remarkable developments in Western philosophy is the fact that one sliver of the Penséesa single fragment of a fragmentary text and but a small portion of the untidy, multi-part, unfinished work that contains it, has achieved a full literary life of its own, with its own lively history of commentary and criticism. These discussions address a range of issues relating to the Wager, such as its status in the development of decision theory and probability theory, the various objections that have been made against it, and the numerous revised or alternate versions and applications that have been derived from it.
This section will take up only two matters related to the topic: 1 the question of whether or not Pascal himself sincerely approved the Wager and believed that it presents a legitimate and persuasive argument for faith in God; 2 the response to the Wager on the part of a few selected philosophers and critics along with a glance at some of its precedents in literary history. Simply characterized, the Wager is a second-person dialog in which Pascal imagines an What does Pascaline mean in French?
forced to choose between belief in God and disbelief in Him. For consider: if you bet on His existence, you stand to win an infinite reward an eternity in paradise at the risk of only a small loss whatever earthly pleasures you would be required to forego during your mortal life. Pascal was a lifelong Catholic whose personal conversion from lukewarm to whole-hearted faith was accomplished not by rational argument but by a life-changing mystical experience.
And that goes even more for a figure like a Méré or Mitton or any of the other young gallants and connoisseurs of honnêteté whom Pascal came to know in the salons and gaming rooms of Paris. After all, what better than a wager to entice a gambler? Similarly, Pascal, in the role a latter-day apostle, uses a game of chance as a net to bring sinners to salvation. The concept of the Wager was by no means original with Pascal. What does Pascaline mean in French? the other hand, we risk a great deal of personal hardship by failing to show him proper reverence if he truly is a god.
The friar responds that the pain is trivial, if we remember Hell. Then art thou a greater fool. But if he wins, the gamblers will have to attend a midnight revival meeting at the Save-a-Soul mission.
In effect, he argues that in a case where the truth is uncertain and the alternatives, immortality of the soul vs. His non-existence, appear equally probable, it is legitimate to prefer the more hopeful option as being the choice more likely conducive to overall happiness.
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When religious faith expresses itself thus, in the language of the gaming-table, it What does Pascaline mean in French? put to its last trumps. He argues that there are matters where the truth is in doubt and science is incapable of passing judgment as in the question of whether God exists.
Where that choice is, in his terms, live meaning that it seems of vital interest and value to us and engages What does Pascaline mean in French? emotionallymomentous meaning that What does Pascaline mean in French?
is What does Pascaline mean in French? and has serious consequencesand forced meaning that we must choose one way or the other and cannot simply sit the fence or stand asidethen it is lawful, indeed even necessary for us to weigh the risks and evidence and choose.
Minor Works Opuscules Besides his two major works the Pensées and the ProvincialesPascal also wrote several shorter works touching on a wide range of topics — from political legitimacy and social order to Stoicism and romantic love.
A brief overview and précis of some of the better known and more important of these minor works follows. First published in 1779, the work was written at the same time as the provinciales and covers much of the same ground proximate power, concupiscence, free will, and so forththough in a more serious and less cavalier manner and in a more direct and methodical form.
Adam was upright but free to fall; we children of Adam are weighed down by sin, and incapable of rising by our own effort. What does Pascaline mean in French?, we are free to accept grace and can therefore be lifted up. Pascal dissects the problem of free will in a similarly Augustinian fashion.
Adam had free will in the sense that he could freely choose either good or evil, though he naturally inclined to the former. We, in our concupiscent state, are also free to choose. However, we are naturally inclined to prefer evil, which in our ignorant, fallen condition we commonly mistake for good. Pascal also points out that through the grace of Jesus Christ, a grace instilled by the Holy Spirit, we can achieve a redeemed will — a will sufficient to overcome concupiscence and capable of recognizing and choosing good.
Commentators on What does Pascaline mean in French? Écrits have questioned whether its depiction of grace which is presented as something largely mysterious yet vital for salvation is consistent with the rational apologetic approach and systematic style of argument that Pascal sought to use in the Pensées. He asserts that geometry and mathematics are the only areas of human inquiry that provide knowledge that is both certain and infallible.
He then supports this claim with arguments and demonstrations. The most popular way of dealing with the Discourse has been simply to dismiss it as uncanonical and regard it as, at bottom, some kind of anonymously composed pastiche that incorporates bits and echoes of Pascal along with selections from other sources.
Alternatively, it could be argued that the Discourse is written in the style and spirit of the Paris salons because Pascal himself intentionally wrote it in that vein, possibly as a kind of literary exercise or demonstration on his part for the amusement of his friends Méré and Mitton and their circle. One can indeed easily imagine the pair challenging their shy friend to attempt such an exercise and then delighting in his successful performance. The work which is addressed to a young man of high degree begins with a parable about a castaway on an island whom the inhabitants owing to his close physical resemblance mistake for their long-lost king.
Such, Pascal argues, is the condition of those born to nobility or wealth within society: it is only by coincidence or lucky accident and by the power of custom What does Pascaline mean in French? convention, not by nature, that they have their status. Pascal concludes the Discourses by reminding his young learner of his true condition and enjoins him to rule and lead with beneficence. Simply stated, the political philosophy expressed in the Discourses is noblesse oblige.
Pascal acknowledges that the origins of human inequality are of two kinds, natural and institutional. The former arise from relative abilities or deficiencies of mind or body. For instance, A has better eyesight than B; X is taller and stronger than Y.
Institutional inequalities, unless they are sanctioned by divine law, are entirely conventional and sometimes even arbitrary and can be rescinded or overturned. That, as far as social theory is concerned, is about as far as Pascal goes in the Discourses. From scattered comments in the Pensées, we know that he was politically conservative and despised violence.
This reading is defective in at least two ways. It expresses the blend of neo-stoicism and contemptus mundi that was common in prayers and sermons of the day. Far from being a fanatical doctrine, this was a What does Pascaline mean in French?
that even non-believers found agreeable. Indeed most of us find it admirable when individuals who are sorely afflicted with a disease or who have suffered the loss of an organ or limb accept their condition with fortitude and equanimity. It is the record of a conversation that took place between Pascal and his spiritual director Lemaistre de Sacy shortly after Pascal took up residence at Port-Royal in 1654.
The portrait of Pascal that emerges from the Conversation is well drawn and seems authentic, and the words and style are recognizably his own. Many of the ideas presented in the work can be found scattered throughout the Pensées, where they are expressed in nearly similar language and where What does Pascaline mean in French? again Epictetus and Montaigne stand as mighty opposites: the former championing but over-estimating the greatness and nobility of humankind, the latter recognizing but exaggerating our folly and ignorance.
Pascal praises Epictetus as a brilliant philosopher whose knowledge of our essential moral duties and especially of our need for patience, courage, faith, and humility is unsurpassed.
For example, Epictetus wrongly supposes that human reason is a perfectly reliable guide to truth. He also errs in holding that the mind and the senses are sufficient for perceiving and understanding the true What does Pascaline mean in French? and overall justice of the cosmos. Of Montaigne, Pascal remarks that although he was a professed Catholic he nevertheless chose to forego Christian doctrine as a source of moral law and turned instead to his, admittedly fallible, personal judgment and natural instinct as ethical guides.
Pascal then goes on to criticize Montaigne for his utter and thoroughgoing Pyrrhonism symbolized by the device of a scales that Montaigne had emblazoned on the ceiling of his study with his famous motto Que sais-je?
Near the end of the conversation, Pascal launches into an oratorical peroration describing how the errors, imperfections, and opposing polarities represented by the two philosophers are ultimately mediated and reconciled in the person of Jesus Christ.
But instead of this peace, nothing but war and a general ruin would result from their union; for the one establishing certainty, the other doubt, the one the greatness of man, the other his weakness, they would destroy the truths as well as the falsehoods What does Pascaline mean in French? each other. So that they cannot subsist alone because of their defects, nor unite because of their opposition, and thus they break and destroy each other to give place to the truth of the Gospel.
This it is that What does Pascaline mean in French? the contrarieties by a wholly divine act, and uniting all that is true and expelling all that is false, thus makes of them a truly celestial wisdom in which those opposites accord that were incompatible in human doctrines.
Such is the marvelous and novel union What does Pascaline mean in French? God alone could teach, and which He alone could make, and which is only a type and an effect of the ineffable union of two natures in the single person of a Man-God. Mathematical and Scientific Works a. Conic Sections Pascal made his first important mathematical discovery and published his first article, the Essay on Conics 1640at the age of sixteen.
Barely an essay at all, the work is a one-page document consisting of three diagrams, three definitions, and two lemmas. Although it had little immediate impact beyond a small circle of mathematicians, it was nevertheless a breakthrough contribution to the emerging new field of projective geometry.
It states that if six points are situated on a conic section an ellipse, parabola, or hyperbolaand if these points are then joined by line segments to form a hexagon, then if the sides of this hexagon are projected beyond the section, the pairs of opposite sides will meet in three points all of which lie on a straight line.
In this case all the points lie entirely outside the ellipse. Eventually these manuscripts were turned over to the great German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz for his evaluation and use. Experiments on the Vacuum In 1644 the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli, testing a hypothesis suggested by Galileo, took a glass tube closed at one end and filled it with mercury.
He then inverted the tube, open end down, into a bowl also containing mercury and watched as the mercury in the tube dropped slightly leaving a vacant space at the top. Contrary to the prevailing scientific view upheld by Aristotelians and Cartesians alike according to which a vacuum in nature is a physical impossibility, Torricelli surmised that the space What does Pascaline mean in French?
the top of the tube was indeed a vacuum and that it was created by the pressure of the external air, which exactly balanced the pressure exerted by the column of mercury inside the tube. Pascal learned of the experiment from his former mentor Père Mersenne. Just obtaining the required apparatus posed a huge challenge.
Scientists of the era typically had to design, specify, oversee the production of, test, and of course pay for their What does Pascaline mean in French?
equipment. Pascal did all that and then went to work conducting his own experiments and demonstrations.
Confident of his results, he went on tour to demonstrate his hypothesis, What does Pascaline mean in French? he was able to do using tubes of different length and diameter and a variety of liquids. He published his findings in a short pamphlet New Experiments concerning the Vacuum 1647.
What does Pascaline mean in French? designed and organized the experiment, but because of his health issues it was actually conducted by his brother-in-law Florin Périer along with a team of observers, clerics, and local officials. Using two identical tubes, the team measured the levels of mercury at a base point in the town. Then, with a portion of the party staying behind to monitor the mercury level in one tube, which remained at the home base, Florin and the rest of the party ascended the mountain with the other tube and measured the mercury level at various elevations.
It was found that the level of mercury in the mobile or test tube varied inversely with the altitude. Meanwhile, the mercury level in the stationary or control tube never varied. Repeated experiments produced the same conclusive results: the level of mercury was due to air pressure, which also has the ability to create a vacuum. It is not on this occasion only that, when the weakness of men has been unable to find the true causes, What does Pascaline mean in French?
subtlety has substituted imaginary causes to which they have given specious names filling the ears and not the mind. Everything satisfying one of these conditions is certain and true, and everything satisfying neither is considered doubtful and uncertain. Others, to fill empty space with some kind of matter, have imagined one with which they have filled the entire universe, because imagination has this peculiarity that it produces the greatest things with as little time and trouble as little things; some have considered this matter as of the same substance as the sky and the elements, and others of a different substance, as their fancy dictated, for they disposed of it as of their own work.
But if we ask of them, as of you, that you show us this matter, they answer that it cannot be seen; if we ask that it make a sound, they say it cannot be heard, and so with all the remaining senses; and they think they have done much when they have convicted others of powerlessness to show that it does not exist by depriving themselves of all power to show that it does. Pascal later composed, but never published, two detailed monographs that were discovered among his manuscripts after his death: a Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids and a Treatise on the Weight of the Mass of Air.
It is in recognition of his important work in the study of fluid mechanics that a standard unit of pressure is today known as the pascal Padefined as a force equal to 1 Newton per square meter. Suppose, Pascal was asked, that What does Pascaline mean in French? are given 24 rolls of a pair of dice. What is the probability of your throwing double sixes at least one time?
This problem asks, if a wager game is terminated before it has been completed, how should the contestants divide the stakes? For example, suppose that A and B are playing a winner-take-all game in which a point is scored on every try and the winner is the first player to reach ten points.
How should the stakes be divided if the game is terminated after A has 7 points and B has 5? Pascal developed solutions to these and other problems relating to the calculation of gambling odds and in an exchange of letters shared his insights with the great Toulouse mathematician Pierre de Fermat. Together the two correspondents effectively founded the modern theory of probability. He sent a copy of this document to Fermat during their correspondence, but it was never published until after his death.
He was simply interested in demonstrating its fascinating properties and powers. Pascal calls the square containing each number in the array a cell. He calls the third diagonal side of the triangle the base.
Cells along any diagonal row are called cells of the same base. The first diagonal row consisting of the number 1 is row 0. The second diagonal row 1, 1 is row 1; and so on. The number value of each cell is equal to the sum of its immediately preceding perpendicular and parallel cells. Furthermore, the number value of each cell is also equal to the sum of all the cells of the preceding row from the first cell to the cell immediately above the target cell.
As Pascal demonstrates, to find the answer we would move perpendicularly down to the nth row and then move diagonally r cells. For example, for 5C 4, we would go perpendicularly down to row 5 and then move diagonally 4 cells and find that the number of combinations is 5. Similarly, if we calculate for 6C 3,we would move down 6 rows and then diagonally 3 cells and find that the answer is 20.
In another section of the Treatise, Pascal explains how to use the Triangle to solve the Problem of Points. Problem of points: A needs 3 more points, B needs 5 more points.
Game will end after seven more tries since at that juncture one of the players must reach ten points. Count 3 + 5 rows on the Triangle; then sum the first 5 items. Then sum the remaining 3 items in the row and divide that total by the sum of all the items in the row. Expressed as a percentage, A receives 77. Now realize that there are an infinite number of such triangles, each stretching out vertically and horizontally to What does Pascaline mean in French?, with each diagonal base in the structure containing within it a theoretically infinite subset of ever-smaller triangles.
Such is the paradoxical notion of infinity, a concept that astounded and haunted Pascal, and which has teased, baffled, and intrigued a long list of theorists and commentators from Nicholas of Cusa and Giordano Bruno to Bertrand Russell and David Foster Wallace. Although the idea of infinity can fill the imagination with dread, it can also, as Pascal points out at the conclusion of his treatise Of the Geometrical Spirit, provide us with a true understanding of nature and of our place in it: But those who clearly perceive these truths will be able to admire the grandeur and power of nature in this double infinity that surrounds us on all sides, and to learn by this marvelous consideration to know themselves, in regarding themselves thus placed between an infinitude and a negation of extension, between an infinitude and a negation of number, between an infinitude and a negation of movement, between an infinitude and a negation of time.
From which we may learn to estimate ourselves at our true value, and to form reflections which will be worth more than all the rest of geometry itself. Figure 3: Cycloid Imagine a point P on the circumference of a revolving circle. A cycloid is the curve described by P as it rolls along a straight line. The challenge is to discover and prove the area of this curve geometrically.
Pascal worked out his own solution and then, as was common practice at the time, issued a public challenge to fellow mathematicians. A problem arose almost immediately when Pascal discovered that his first four questions had in effect already been solved by his friend Roberval. The contest was therefore reduced to the final two questions, a change that, unfortunately, was not made clear to all the contestants.
In addition, some contestants protested that the time limit was unreasonably short. Christian Huygens and Christopher Wren published solutions, but did not compete for the prize. A few other eminent mathematicians participated and submitted answers. However, Pascal, finding none of the submissions fully satisfactory, eventually revealed his own solutions and declared himself the winner.
Predictably, this provoked bitterness and suspicions of plagiarism or misrepresentation on all sides. Excellence in science and mathematics, he argued, requires both capabilities. Philosophy of Science and Theory of Knowledge a. Philosophy of Science Of the many great natural philosophers of the 17 th century — a group that includes both theoreticians and experimentalists and such illustrious names as Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, Boyle, Huygens, and Gassendi — Pascal arguably was the one who came closest to articulating a coherent, comprehensive, durable philosophy of science consistent with and comparable to the standard view that prevails today, except that he came up short.
Clarke has argued, Pascal was torn between his love of geometric proof and What does Pascaline mean in French? logical What does Pascaline mean in French? on the one hand and his skeptical, pragmatic instincts in favor of down-to-earth experimentalism and empiricism on the other. As a result he seemed trapped in a kind of philosophical limbo. Torricelli tubes What does Pascaline mean in French? of brass fittings engineered to nearly microscopic precision.
Pascal fully understood that once a hypothesis is tested and confirmed, the problem of determining the true cause of the phenomenon still remains and becomes itself a matter for further conjecture. For example, take his prediction, experimentally confirmed, that the level of mercury in a Torricelli tube will decline as altitude increases. Pascal claimed that this phenomenon was due to the weight of air, though he knew that other factors might also explain the same effect.
Indeed, for all he knew, an invisible emanation from the god Mercury may have influenced his results. Ironically, the famous Puy-de-Dôme experiment had been performed near an ancient temple to that deity. As Pascal observed to Father Noël, fanciful explanations for phenomena are as easy to imagine as they are impossible to disprove. However, as he himself and his fellow experimentalists certainly knew, there can be nearly as many reasons why an expected result does not occur, such as defective apparatus, lack of proper controls, measurement errors, extraordinary test circumstances, etc, as there are explanations for a result that occurs as expected.
Apparently in his haste to champion the new science of experimentalism against its critics, both Cartesian and Scholastic, Pascal wanted to at least be able to say that if experiments cannot conclusively prove a given hypothesis, then they may at least be able to disprove it. Anticipating Kant, he wondered with what limitations and with what level of assurance we can confidently say we know what we believe we know.
Pascal has been plausibly labeled an empiricist, a foundationalist, even a positivist and a skeptic. The confusion is understandable and is due largely to the fact What does Pascaline mean in French? his epistemological views are complex and seem in certain respects equivocal or inconsistent. For example, he accepts the rule of authority in some areas of knowledge, such as ancient history, while opposing and even forbidding it in others, especially physical science.
Reason and Sense In a perfect world human reason would be 100 percent reliable and hold sway. Presumably, Adam, prior to the Fall, had such a pristine and certain view of things, such that there was a perfect congruency or correspondence between his inner perceptions and the outer world.
Pascal believes that the axioms and first principles of math, geometry, and logic constitute knowledge of this kind. They are perceived directly by reason and along with any consequences that we can directly deduce from them represent the only knowledge that we can know infallibly and with certainty.
Everything else is subject to error and doubt. Reason also has a role in this process. It guides our observations and assists us in the forming of hypotheses and predictions. It is reason that also judges and approves or disapproves the final results, though it does so on the basis of empirical evidence, not deductive logic or some preconceived system. In the Preface to his Treatise on the Vacuum, Pascal declares that reason and sense alone must rule and authority has no place in the establishment of scientific truth.
Authority is to be respected, he says, in history, jurisprudence, languages, and above all in matters of theology, where the authority of Scripture and the Fathers is omnipotent. But, he argues that in the case of physical science reverence for the ancients can actually cloud the truth and impede the advancement of knowledge, especially when such reverence is, blind, misplaced, or overly devout.
In scattered places throughout the Pensées he makes reference to a logique du coeur or an ordre du coeur. But what exactly he means by such phrases he never clearly explains. We feel it in a thousand things. I say that the heart naturally loves the Universal Being, and also itself naturally, according as it gives itself to them; and it hardens itself against one or the other at its will.
You have rejected the one, and kept the other. Is it by reason that you love yourself? Such a faculty, if it is indeed instinctive, would presumably be inborn and thus What does Pascaline mean in French? a part of our basic nature and something that all humans share or a special gift or grace bestowed by God to the elect.
Heart-knowledge would then be like some faint glimmer or trace of the instantaneous, clairvoyant understanding that the unfallen Adam was believed to enjoy in Paradise.
In any case, the notion of a raison du Coeur remains a critical crux in Pascal studies and posed a mystery and challenge to his readers. Fideism Fideism can be defined as the view that religious truth is ascertainable by faith alone and that faith is separate from, superior to, and generally antagonistic towards reason. Whenever What does Pascaline mean in French? term shows up in a religious or philosophical discussion, it is typically in conjunction with a list that includes names like Tertullian, Luther, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and William James.
Based What does Pascaline mean in French? the foregoing definition of fideism, Pascal does not fit into such a list, though the tendency to include him is understandable. For Pascal, that belief was his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Kekule discovered the shape and structure of the benzene molecule in a dream. Though his means of discovery was non-rational, what he discovered was quite reasonable and proved true. The notion of mathematical infinity baffles us in the same way.
Of particular significance in this respect is the paragraph in which Pascal, in an observation that seems to echo Tertullian almost as much as St. They declare, when they expound it to the world, that it is foolishness, stultitiam; and then you complain because they do not prove it! If they proved it, they would not keep their word; it is through their lack of proofs that they show they are not lacking in sense.
But, again, not being able to prove or give a convincing explanation for a belief is not quite the same thing as saying that the belief is incompatible with or contrary to reason. Conspiracy theories are typically lamely supported and impossible to prove, but they are seldom implausible or illogical.
Moreover, it is not just a fideistic claim, but a perfectly orthodox Catholic view and indeed a widely observable fact that reason has limits; that it is indeed, as Pascal claims, unreasonable to trust reason too much. Even if someone were convinced that the proportions between numbers are immaterial, eternal truths, depending on a first truth in which they subsist, called God, I should not consider that he made much progress towards his salvation.
That is the portion of the heathen and Epicureans. That Christianity is reasonable though not provable by reason effectively summarizes one of the central arguments of the entire Pensées.
Again it can be asked as it was in the case of his alleged affiliation with fideism whether he belongs in such a list. For in his view human beings enter the world with a largely defined and determined nature and a destiny that is partly charted, partly free. We are broken creatures and would be hopelessly lost if it were not for divine grace.
If such a view of the human condition is incompatible with existentialism, then Pascal is no existentialist. On the other hand, if Augustine and Kierkegaard or for that matter any Christian thinker can be considered existentialists in some broad sense, then it is hard to see why Pascal might not also qualify. Like Augustine and Kierkegaard, he emphasizes the priority of the individual and the deeply personal character of our choice to believe.
Like them, he values and personally exemplifies an extreme inwardness, indeed at times displays an almost fanatical absorption in his mental and spiritual life. The Confessions, with its focus on the self and personal identity, and especially on the self as a cumulative record, inscribed in memory, of our life-altering decisions and events, is conceivably the first existentialist text.
The Pensées stands as an intermediate text in this series, an experiment in autobiographical apologetics linking the direct, confessional style of Augustine with the multiple personae, lyrical vignettes, and pensive fragments typical of Kierkegaard.
That human life without God is wretched and that the human condition is marked by restlessness, ennui, and anxiety is an observation common to all three writers. Another common feature of their work is the recurrent image of a vast gulf or abyss. Augustine compares the human soul to a deep abyss and likens it to the Nothingness preceding the Creation Genesis 1:2.
Without the light of God, he suggests, we are but a dark emptiness. Kierkegaard argues that human freedom necessarily entails a constant sense of anxiety, and his image of our condition is that of a person standing on the edge of a dark precipice.
And in the background of this imagery also stands the legend of his personal idée fixe — that is, his feeling that he was constantly shadowed by a personal abyss. In the Confessions Augustine describes the long ordeal that eventually leads to his conversion. Instead, he must begin a new spiritual test and journey — that of actually living a Christian life. Similarly, Kierkegaard never wrote of being a Christian, but always of becoming one.
He regarded an authentic Christian life as a constant trial and task. Like Augustine, Pascal places even harsher spiritual demands on himself after his conversion. And like Kierkegaard, he believes that true Christianity is an ever-striving imitatio Christi, a continual remaking of oneself in the image and spirit of Jesus. Eliot, Borges, Bertrand Russell, Paul Valéry, Harold Bloom — the list of important writers and thinkers who have studied Pascal and gone on to voice their appreciation or discontent could be extended literally for pages.
It is not he who changes, but we who change. It is not our knowledge of him that increases, but our world that alters and our attitudes towards it. On this point he was quite mistaken. He remains a fixed point against which we are challenged to measure the sincerity and durability of our own values and beliefs.
Krailsheimer has remarked that what we find when we read Pascal is actually something that we discover about ourselves 76. In effect, what both Krailsheimer and Eliot are suggesting is that ultimately there is not one Pascal, but many — possibly as many as there are readers of his texts. In addition, every modern system of intra-urban or inter-urban shuttle transportation also owes a debt to the philosopher, who first conceived such a system and oversaw its original implementation in the city of Paris.
His combination of wit, irony, and aphorism, his ease and clarity, his air of someone skilled both in urbane conversation and erudite technical debate was to a large extent already present and on dazzling display in Montaigne. The same features reappear in the writings of Voltaire and the philosophes. And today, thanks largely to Pascal, these attributes have become a part of French literary tradition.
Pater rightly called him the intellectual equivalent of lightning. References and Further Reading a. The Miscellaneous Writings of Pascal consisting of Letters, Essays, Conversations, and Miscellaneous Thoughts. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1849. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1964-1992. New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1869. Provincial Letters, Pens ées, Scientific Treatises. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Provincial Letters, translated by Hilaire Belloc, Catholic Truth Society, 1921. Édition de Pascal, Provinciales, Pensées et opuscules divers. Lettres, opuscules et mémoires de madame Perier et de Jacqueline, soeurs de Pascal, et de Marguerite Perier, sa nièce: Publiés sur les manuscrits originaux par M. Elibron Classics replica edition, 2001. Pascal: The Life of Genius.
Blaise Pascal: Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House, 1989. New York: Penguin Books, 1999. Hydrostatical Paradoxes: Made Out by New Experiments. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 18. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1964; 355-368. Génie et Écrits de Pascal. The Hidden God: A Study of Tragic Vision in the Pens ées of Pascal and the Tragedies of Racine. New York: Herder and Herder, 1966. The Cambridge Companion to Pascal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution: Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz and the Cultivation of Virtue. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. New York: Hill and Wang, 1980. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. Claude and Marcia Abraham, tr. Pascal: His Life and Works. London: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1885. On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo. New York: Vintage Books, 1969. The Logic of the Heart: Augustine, Pascal, and the Rationality of Faith.
London: Gibbings and Company Limited, 1901, pp. New York: Philosophical Library, 1965. Beyond Fideism: Negotiable Religious Identities. Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University Press, 1981. Blaise Pascal on Duplicity, Sin, and the Fall: The Secret Instinct. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Author Information David Simpson Email: Depaul University U.