From the French Dictionnaire Philosophique, translated by William F. Fleming. The Philosophical Dictionary is not a sustained work, but a compilation of articles contributed to Diderot's Encyclopédie. The quality of the articles bear witness to the great genius and intellect of François-Marie Arouet, more known as Voltaire.
owable to write in a mathematical work, that "a geometrician who would pay his devotions, ought to ascend to heaven in a right line; that evanescent quantities turn up their noses at the earth for having too much elevated them; that a seed sown in the ground takes an opportunity to release and amuse itself; that if Saturn should perish, it would be his fifth and not his first satellite that would take his place, because kings always keep their heirs at a distance; that there is no void except in the purse of a ruined man; that when Hercules treats of physics, no one is able to resist a philosopher of his degree of power?" etc.
Some very valuable works are infected with this fault. The source of a defect so common seems to me to be the accusation of pedantry, so long and so justly made against authors. "In vitium ducit culpae fuga." It is frequently said, that we ought to write in the style of good company; that the most serious authors are becoming agreeable: that is to say, in order to exhibi