introduction

online exhibition

rare book library

contacts

ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

philosophy

previous page next page

Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)
Pensées de M. Pascal sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujets : qui ont esté trouvées aprés sa morts parmy ses papiers.
Seconde édition
A Paris : Chez Guillaume Desprez, 1670.

Image from Image of Pascal's Pensees

When Blaise Pascal (1623-62), the brilliant young French mathematician and natural philosopher, died at the age of 39 he left behind a bundle of papers which contained over 800 'pensées'. These comprised his draft apology for the Christian religion. Together they amount to one of the most remarkable discussions of religion and religious knowledge in the early modern period. Many of the thoughts adopt a conversational style with Pascal attempting to persuade his friend of the truth and reasonableness of Christianity. Easily the most famous 'pensée' is an argument that has come to be known as Pascal's Wager for belief in God. Here in this early second edition atop page 56 we read Pascal's offer: 'If you win, you win all, if you lose, you lose nothing'.

Image from Pascal's Pensees page 56
previous page next page