Diderot, Denis

(1713-1784)
   writer, philosopher
   Born in Langres to a well-to-do bourgeois family, Denis Diderot, a major figure of the enlightenment, studied theology, philosophy, and law at the sorbonne, while living a bohemian existence. There he spent several years pursuing a variety of professions. His first serious work, published anonymously, was "Penséesphilosophiques" (1746), in which he presented his deistic philosophy, followed by Les Bijoux indiscrets (1748). In 1747 he was invited to edit a French translation of the English Encyclopaedia. Instead, collaborating with jean le rond d'alembert, Diderot converted the project into a vast, controversial, and new work, the 35-volume Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, usually known as the Encyclopédie. He worked on this project from 1747 to 1766 with the assistance of the most celebrated writers and thinkers of the age, including Montesquieu, voltaire, and others. Diderot, ever the skeptic and rationalist, used the Encyclopédie to attack the conservatism, superstitions, religious authority and semifeudal social norms of the period. Consequently, the Conseil du roi suppressed the early volumes (published after 1751) and the remainder Diderot had printed secretly. Diderot's other voluminous writings include La religieuse (1760), an attack on convent life; Le fils naturel (1757); Le Père de famille (1758); a social satire, Le Neveu de Rameau (1761-74), published by J. W. von Goethe in 1805; Est-il bon? Est-il méchant (1781); and Jacques le Fataliste et son maître (published 1796), which explored the psychology of determination and free will. Diderots's materialist theories are found in his Lettre sur les aveugles à l'usage de ceux qui voient (1749) on learning among the blind, and dramatic philosophical dialogues, Le rêve d'Alembert (1769) and Supplement au voyage de Bougainville (published 1796). In his Correspondance with sophie volland, he exalts nature as a "divine" force. As a leader in aesthetic criticism, Diderot, in 1759, founded Les Salons, a journal in which he critiqued the annual Paris art exhibition. In an age of famous letter writing, he was unexcelled in his correspondence. He won the patronage of Catherine the Great of Russia, whom he visited in 1773, and was a major influence on other thinkers of the Enlightenment.

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • DIDEROT, DENIS° — (1713–1784), French man of letters. He was editor in chief of the celebrated Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers (1751–80), to which he also contributed many articles. His article Juifs (Philosophie des)… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Diderot, Denis — born Oct. 5, 1713, Langres, France died July 31, 1784, Paris French man of letters and philosopher. Educated by Jesuits, Diderot later received degrees from the University of Paris. From 1745 to 1772 he served as chief editor of the 35 volume… …   Universalium

  • Diderot, Denis — b. 1713 Lagnes, Champagne, France d. 1784 Paris, France [br] French editor of the thirty five volume Encyclopédie. [br] In spite of a Jesuit education, Diderot became a teacher and scholar instead of a lawyer or doctor. He then proceeded to write …   Biographical history of technology

  • Diderot, Denis — (1713–1784) The principal editor of the Encyclopédie , and together with Voltaire the leading figure of the 18th century Enlightenment in France, enjoying a long and eventful career dedicated to the acquisition and dissemination of learning.… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Diderot, Denis — ► (1713 84) Filósofo francés. Asumió la dirección de la Enciclopedia (1747). Defendió una moral que tuviese en cuenta la libertad individual y las exigencias sociales. Entre sus obras filosóficas destacan El sueño de d´Alembert (1769) y Ensayo… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • DIDEROT, DENIS —    a French philosopher, born at Langres, the son of a cutler there; a zealous propagator of the philosophic ideas of the 18th century, and the projector of the famous Encyclopédie, which he edited along with D Alembert, and which made a great… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Diderot,Denis — Di·de·rot (dēʹdə rō , dē drōʹ), Denis. 1713 1784. French philosopher and writer whose supreme accomplishment was his work on the Encyclopédie (1751 1772), which epitomized the spirit of Enlightenment thought. He also wrote novels, plays, critical …   Universalium

  • Diderot, Denis — See Enlightenment I (The French): science, materialism and determinism and Enlightenment II (The French): deism, morality and politics …   History of philosophy

  • Diderot, Denis —  (1713–1784) French encyclopedist and philosopher …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Diderot — Diderot, Denis …   Philosophy dictionary

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