Blaise Pascal, French philosopher

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a physicist, mathematician, philosopher and French theologian. Author of the famous phrase: "The heart has reasons that reason knows itself."

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was born in Clemont-Ferrand, France, on 19 June 1623. Orphan of mother from an early age had their education to father's care. For its extreme precocity, he was taken to Paris when he was attracted by mathematics.

In 1639, aged 16, wrote "Essay on the Bevel." That year, his father was transferred pair Rouen and there Pascal made his first research in physics.

At this time, he invented a small calculator, the first manual calculator that is known, currently kept at the Conservatory of Arts and Paris measures.

date from this period, the first Pascal contacts with the Jansenists, Catholic faction, inspired by St. Augustine, rejected the concept of free will, accepted predestination and taught that the divine grace, not good works would be the key of salvation.

Scientific activities

In 1647, Pascal returned to Paris and devoted himself to scientific activity. Experiments performed on the "atmospheric pressure", "wrote a treatise on the vacuum", invented hydraulic press and improved syringe and the barometer Torricelli.

In mathematics, became famous his "probability theory" and his "Treatise of Arithmetic Triangle" (1654). His work had several relationships that would be of great value for the further development of statistics.

Blaise Pascal Philosophy

In 1654, after nearly dying in a car crash and go through a mystical experience, Pascal decided to devote themselves to God and religion. He chose his spiritual guide the Jansenist priest Singlin and in 1665 retired to the abbey of Port-Royal des Champs, the center of Jansenism.

During this period, he worked out the principles of his philosophical doctrine, centered on the contrast of two basic elements and not exclusive of knowledge: on the one hand, the ratio with its mediations that tend to accurate, to the logical and discursive (geometric spirit).

On the other hand, the emotion , or the heart that transcends the outside world, intuitive, able to learn the ineffable, the religious and the moral (fineness of mind).

Pascal summed up his philosophy in the phrase doctrine that mankind repeated for centuries, in which names the two elements of knowledge - reason and emotion.

"The heart has reasons that reason knows itself"

Understanding this way of being of man, his condition in the world, established between extremes, it is the main object of Pascal's philosophy. On the basis of this division, it is the opposition between the divine nature of the spirit and human nature and failure, sinful matter.

The philosophical-religious conceptions of Pascal are met in the works: "Les Provinciales" (1656-1657), a set of 18 letters written to defend the Jansenist Antoine Arnauld, opponent of the Jesuits who was on trial by the theologians of Paris, and "Random Thoughts" (1670), a treatise on spirituality, which makes the defense of Christianity.

Les Provinciales came the first evidence that Pascal was beginning to move away from Jansenism, in-depth trend Pensées when turned to an anthropocentric view of grace and gave human initiative an amount not more coadunava with jansenistas precepts .

Pascal's work as a theologian and writer was much more influential than his contribution to science. It is present in the romantic eighteenth century, in the reflections of Nietzsche and modernist Catholics who found him the forerunner of his pragmatism.

Blaise Pascal died in Paris, France on August 19, 1662.

phrases Blaise Pascal

  • The heart has reasons that reason knows itself.
  • Justice without force is powerless, force without justice is tyrannical.
  • You never love someone, but only qualities.
  • There is nothing good in this life except the hope of another life.
  • Man is made to think clearly; it's all his dignity and his whole merit; and his whole duty is to think as well.


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