Philosophe

From Academic Kids

The Philosophes (French for Philosophers) were a group of French intellectuals of the 18th century Enlightenment.

The Philosophes encouraged reason, knowledge and education as a way of overcoming superstition and ignorance. They launched the Encyclopédie (1751-1772) stating everything could be known, classified and understood by man. It also questioned religious authority and criticized social injustice. They believed that the role of philosophy was to change the world, not just to discuss it.

Because it was illegal to openly criticize the church and state in France, many wrote plays, novels, histories, dictionaries, and encyclopedias with subtle messages attached. An example is Montesquieu's Persian Letters.

Some of the most famous Philosophes are Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu.

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