<biography, history of philosophy> French philosopher (1694-1778). Like the other Encyclopedists, Voltaire greatly admired the philosophy of John Locke, and he defended his own version of sensationalism in the Dictionnaire Philosophique (Philosophical Dictionary) (1764) and Lettres Philosophiques (Letters Concerning the English Nation) (1734). As a freethinker and deist, Voltaire opposed institutional religion generally. In Po╦me sur la D╚sastre de Lisbonne (On the Lisbon Disaster) (1756) and Candide, ou l'optimisme (Candide) (1759), Voltaire's acknowledgement of the presence of evil grounded a bitter rejection of Leibniz's conviction that god has created the best of all possible worlds. Recommended Reading: Voltaire, Oeuvres Completes (French & European, 1999); The Portable Voltaire, ed. by Ben Ray Redman (Viking, 1977); Francois Voltaire, Treatise on Tolerance: And Other Writings, tr. by Brian Masters and Simon Harvey (Cambridge, 2000); Voltaire: Political Writings, ed. by David Williams (Cambridge, 1994); and John Gray, Voltaire (Routledge, 1999).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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