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Diderot and the Encyclopædists (Vol 1 of 2)

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Author: John Morley (Viscount Morley)
Published: 1886
Language: English
Wordcount: 98,697 / 299 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 44.1
LoC Category: CT
Downloads: 625
Added to site: 2005.02.19
mnybks.net#: 9657
Genres: History, Biography
Excerpt

capable of being made a desirable abiding-place, and that the evil of the world is the fruit of bad education and bad institutions. This cheerful doctrine now strikes on the ear as a commonplace and a truism. A hundred years ago in France it was a wonderful gospel, and the beginning of a new dispensation. It was the great counter-principle to asceticism in life and morals, to formalism in art, to absolutism in the social ordering, to obscurantism in thought. Every social improvement since has been the outcome of that doctrine in one form or another. The conviction that the character and lot of man are indefinitely modifiable for good, was the indispensable antecedent to any general and energetic endeavour to modify the conditions that surround him. The omnipotence of early instruction, of laws, of the method of social order, over the infinitely plastic impulses of the human creature--this was the maxim which brought men of such widely different temperament and leanings to the common enterprise. Everybody can

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