Pascal, Blaise


Pascal, Blaise
(1623-1662)
   mathematician, physicist, philosopher
   Considered one of the great minds of Western intellectual history, Blaise Pascal was born in Clermont-Ferrand. His father, who had early recognized his exceptional gifts, oversaw his education and brought the family to live in Paris (1631), where the young Blaise met with scholars. At age 16, he was the author of an "Essai sur les conîques," in which he put forth what is now known as Pascal's theorem, and invented one of the first adding machines three years later. in 1646, he verified the hypotheses of the italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli through experiments on barometric pressure and was able to affirm that "Nature abhors a vacuum." (Expériences nouvelles touchant le vide, 1647). These principles were later reaffirmed in his treatises Équilibre des liqueurs and Pesanteur de la masse de l'air (1663). In 1654, in conjunction with the mathematician pierre de fermât, Pascal formulated the theory of probability in his famous Traité du triangle arithmetique. His methodology always reflected his emphasis on empirical experimentation and his belief that human progress is perpetuated by the accumulation of the knowledge thus gained. Some time before 1647, he came under the influence of jansenism and entered the Jansenist community at Port-Royal, where he led a rigorously ascetic life until his death. In 1656, he wrote his famous 18 Lettres provinciales critiquing that movement. His most positive religious statements appeared posthumously, Apologie de la réligion chrétienne (1662), in which he posed the alternatives of potential salvation and eternal damnation ("if you win, you win everything, if you lose, you lose nothing"), and in his last work, Pensées sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujets (1670), dealing with original sin, faith, and revelation. His mystical concept of a hidden God appears in his Lettres à Madamoiselle de Roannez, and his views on classicism and literature in L'Art de persuader (ca. 1657). Pascal, who is ranked among the finest French polemicists, and whose original prose style is much celebrated, is known as one of the most eminent physicists and mathematicians of his age and also as one of the greatest mystical writers in Christian literature.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • PASCAL, BLAISE° — (1623–1662), French religious philosopher, writer, and scientist. Pascal, an ardent Christian, was a member of the austere Catholic group known as the Jansenists. He is famous for his Pensées sur la religion (1670), fragments intended to form… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Pascal, Blaise — • French scientist and philosopher (1623 1662) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Pascal, Blaise — ► (1623 62) Matemático, físico y filósofo francés. Escribió a los dieciséis años un Tratado de las secciones cónicas e inventó a los dieciocho una máquina calculadora. Sus experiencias acerca del vacío y del equilibrio de los fluidos son… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Pascal, Blaise — born June 19, 1623, Clermont Ferrand, France died Aug. 19, 1662, Paris French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. The son of a mathematician, he was a child prodigy, earning the envy of René Descartes with an essay he wrote on… …   Universalium

  • Pascal, Blaise — (1623–62)    Mathematician and Theologian.    Pascal was born in Clermont Ferrand, France, and from an early age showed a remarkable talent for mathematics. In 1646 he first came into contact with Jansenism and in 1651 his sister Jacqueline… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Pascal , Blaise — (1623–1662) French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher Pascal was the son of a respected mathematician and a local administrator in Clermont Ferrand, France. Early in life Pascal displayed evidence that he was an infant prodigy… …   Scientists

  • Pascal, Blaise — (1623 1662)    A French poet, mathematician, natural philosopher, and mystic who suffered from recurring headaches, vertigo, and episodes of partial paresis of the limbs, as well as from visual disturbances which have traditionally been labelled… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Pascal, Blaise — (1623–1662) French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. A mathematical prodigy, Pascal published his mathematical discoveries on the theory of conic sections at the age of sixteen. He invented the first practicable calculating machine, in… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Pascal, Blaise — (1623 62)    A French mathematician, philosopher and Christian apologist, Pascal became a defender of the Christian faith and, in particular, of its Jansenist form (against the Jesuits) after a religious experience in 1654 turned his primary… …   Christian Philosophy

  • Pascal,Blaise — Pas·cal (pă skălʹ, pä skälʹ), Blaise. 1623 1662. French mathematician, philosopher and inventor. His early work included the invention of the adding machine and syringe, and the co development with Fermat of the mathematical theory of probability …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.