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Pascal's Pensées   By: (1623-1662)

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Blaise Pascal's Pensées is a thought-provoking and profound collection of fragments written by the renowned French philosopher and mathematician. Although left incomplete at the time of his death, this posthumous work offers readers a profound insight into the mind of an intellectual genius and a glimpse into the inner turmoil experienced by Pascal.

Pensées is divided into different sections, each containing short fragments that touch upon a wide range of topics, including philosophy, religion, morality, and human nature. Written in a style that combines both logic and introspection, Pascal seamlessly transitions between religious contemplation and philosophical musings, often challenging traditional beliefs and presenting original and thought-provoking ideas.

One of the most significant aspects of this book is Pascal's exploration of the human condition and our quest for truth and purpose in life. He delves into the limitations of human understanding and the futility of relying solely on reason to comprehend the mysteries of the universe. Pascal urges readers to embrace a balance between faith and reason, arguing that true wisdom lies in acknowledging our own limitations and embracing a higher power.

Moreover, Pascal's critique of the superficiality and emptiness of worldly pursuits is a recurrent theme throughout the book. He persuasively argues that material riches and fleeting pleasures fail to provide lasting happiness and fulfillment. Instead, he emphasizes the necessity of seeking a deeper and more meaningful existence through a connection with God.

Another notable aspect of Pensées is Pascal's exploration of religious belief and the existence of God. He presents intricate arguments in defense of Christianity and offers compelling reasons for embracing faith. However, what sets this work apart is Pascal's acknowledgment of doubt and his willingness to engage with skepticism. He encourages readers to question their own beliefs and probes the complexities of religious conviction, offering a refreshing and honest perspective.

While some readers may find Pascal's style occasionally challenging to follow due to its fragmentary nature, the ideas presented in Pensées are undeniably timeless and thought-provoking. Pascal's eloquence and intellectual rigor shine through his writing, captivating the reader's attention and prompting deep reflection.

In conclusion, Pascal's Pensées is a remarkable literary work that continues to captivate readers centuries after its publication. Blaise Pascal's ability to seamlessly navigate between philosophy and religion, skepticism and faith, is a testament to his intellectual prowess. The book serves as a testament to his profound insights and remains a valuable resource for those seeking to engage with fundamental existential questions.

First Page:



A Dutton Paperback

New York E. P. DUTTON & CO., INC.

This paperback edition of "Pascal's Pensées" Published 1958 by E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

SBN 0 525 47018 2


It might seem that about Blaise Pascal, and about the two works on which his fame is founded, everything that there is to say had been said. The details of his life are as fully known as we can expect to know them; his mathematical and physical discoveries have been treated many times; his religious sentiment and his theological views have been discussed again and again; and his prose style has been analysed by French critics down to the finest particular. But Pascal is one of those writers who will be and who must be studied afresh by men in every generation. 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. The history of human opinions of Pascal and of men of his stature is a part of the history of humanity. That indicates his permanent importance.

The facts of Pascal's life, so far as they are necessary for this brief introduction to the Pensées , are as follows. He was born at Clermont, in Auvergne, in 1623... Continue reading book >>

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