Voltaire

Giacomo Casanova and his Underestimated Literary Legacy

Giacomo Casanova and his Underestimated Literary Legacy

On June 4, 1798, Italian adventurer and author Giacomo Girolamo Casanova passed away. Although being famous or almost notorious because of his frequent and elaborate love affairs, he also is considered to be a brilliant author. His autobiography ‘Histoire de ma vie‘ (The Story of my Life), is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century. Being associated with European…
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Frederick the Great’s Cunning Plan to Introduce the Potato

Frederick the Great’s Cunning Plan to Introduce the Potato

On 24, March, 1756, Prussian king Frederick the Great passed the circular order that should ensure the cultivation and deployment of potatoes in his country. Actually, citizens received this only rather refusing, because this subterranean vegetable seemed rather suspicious to them. But there is the saying that the king used a clever trick to convince his subjects… “I appreciate the potato only as a protection against famine, except for that, I know…
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Voltaire – Libertarian and Philosopher

Voltaire – Libertarian and Philosopher

On November 21, 1694, François-Marie Arouet was born, known by his nom de plume Voltaire, French philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment, re-known by his wits, prolific writer of novels, poems, essays, and letters, and dear friend of Prussian king Frederick the Grea.[6] “We should be considerate to the living; to the dead we owe only the truth.” – Voltaire in a letter to M. de Grenonville (1719) Origin and further Troubles…
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Vivant Denon and the Science of Egyptology

Vivant Denon and the Science of Egyptology

On January 4, 1747, French artist, writer, diplomat, author, and archaeologist Dominique Vivant, Baron Denon was born. He was appointed as the first Director of the Louvre Museum by Napoleon. His two-volume Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (“Journey in Lower and Upper Egypt“, 1802), was the foundation of modern Egyptology. Early Years The Chevalier Dominique-Vivant Denon was born on 4 January 1747 near Chalon-sur-Saône as the son of a lawyer…
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Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (1714-1780) On September 30, 1714, French philosopher and epistemologist Étienne Bonnot de Condillac was born. A leading advocate in France of the ideas of John Locke de Condillac further emphasized the importance of language in logical reasoning, stressing the need for a scientifically designed language and for mathematical calculation as its basis. Étienne de Condillac was born at Grenoble as the youngest of three brothers to Gabriel Bonnot, Vicomte de Mably, and…
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Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method

Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method

On January 22, 1561, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author Sir Francis Bacon was born. Bacon has been called the creator of empiricism. His works established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry. “Knowledge, that tendeth but to satisfaction, is but as a courtesan, which is for pleasure, and not for fruit or generation.” — Francis Bacon, as quoted in Valerius Terminus: Of the Interpretation of Nature (ca. 1603) Scholasticism…
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A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) On December 17, 1706, French mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet was born. Her major achievement is considered to be her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton‘s work Principia Mathematica, which still is the standard French translation of Newton‘s work today. Philosopher and author Voltaire, one of her lovers, once declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of…
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Edward Jenner’s Fight against Smallpox

Edward Jenner’s Fight against Smallpox

On May 17, 1749, English physician and scientist Edward Anthony Jenner was born, who was the pioneer of smallpox vaccine. He is often referred to as “the father of immunology“. Edward Jenner was lucky to receive a good education and decided to go into the field of medicine quite early. Already at the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a surgeon and later also studied anatomy at a local hospital, where he…
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