Voltaire (1694 ~ 1778) [brief introduction] Voltaire was a French Enlightenment thinker, writer and historian in the 18th century.
Leader and mentor of the French Enlightenment.
Francois Marie arue, formerly known as Francois Marie arue, was born into a wealthy bourgeois family in Paris on November 21, 1694.
At that time, it was in the 34th year of the “Sun King” Louis XIV’s reign, and feudal autocracy reached its peak.
From 1704 to 1711, Voltaire studied in daluyi middle school founded by the Jesuit Church.
During this period, he was influenced by liberalism, especially P.
Baylor’s anti religious fanaticism works.
Baylor’s skeptical principle centered on philosophy and the spirit of challenging religion had a far-reaching impact on Voltaire.
After graduation, Voltaire began his literary career by writing satirical impromptu poems.
He attacked the feudal autocratic rule and the Catholic church with a sharp pen.
He was imprisoned in the Bastille in 1717 for violating the Royal aristocracy.
In 1718, his first performance in the French theatre was almost a success.
Voltaire came to Britain in 1726.
At that time, Britain had completed the bourgeois revolution and established a bourgeois regime that compromised with the new aristocracy.
Britain’s political openness, economic prosperity and free atmosphere were in sharp contrast to France under Louis XV.
During his stay in Britain, he highly praised the constitutional monarchy established after the “Glorious Revolution”, and the thoughts of I.
Locke had a great impact on him.
After returning to France in 1729, Voltaire actively engaged in enlightenment propaganda.
In 1734, philosophical communication was published in France.
Because Voltaire praised the freedom of belief and political freedom in Britain, introduced the advanced ideas of Newton and Locke, and criticized and exposed the French government and Catholic Church, the French government was greatly angry.
As a result, philosophical communication was banned and burned.
Voltaire then stayed away from Paris and lived in the Chateau de sire in Lorraine province for 15 years.
He devoted himself to writing and published Philosophical Monographs such as metaphysics and the principles of Newton’s philosophy.
In 1745, Voltaire was appointed French historian.
He was elected an academician of the French Academy in 1746.
In 1750, at the invitation of King Frederick II of Prussia, he went to Berlin.
During his stay in Germany, he published the famous historical monograph the era of Louis XIV, which systematically discussed his political proposition of enlightened monarchy and tried to implement it in Prussia.
In 1755, Voltaire, who recognized the true face of King Frederick, left Germany disappointed and settled in a manor on the border between France and Switzerland.
From then on, Voltaire began a new stage of his anti feudalism.
Before that, Voltaire had close contact with famous scholars such as D.
Diderot and Elysee, and participated in the compilation of encyclopedia with a positive and sincere attitude, so as to fiercely attack feudal autocracy and religious fanaticism and carry out the struggle for democracy and freedom.
During this period, in addition to continuing to create a series of drama works, he also completed works such as Russia under Peter the great and the history of Parliament.
With the continuous development of the enlightenment, Voltaire’s reputation increased day by day.
In 1774, the fatuous Louis XV died.
In early 1778, Voltaire, 84, returned to Paris after 28 years of absence and was ceremoniously welcomed by the citizens of Paris, thus establishing his leading position in the French Enlightenment.
On May 30 of the same year, Voltaire died of illness.
[influence] as a thinker of the French Enlightenment, Voltaire held high the banner of democracy, freedom and equality and attacked feudal autocracy and the dark rule of the Catholic Church.
Voltaire inherited the advanced ideas in the history of Britain and France, especially accepted Empiricism from Locke, combined with the social reality of France at that time, formed his free deistic materialist empiricism, and did not fall into fatalism when accepting Newton’s view that nature is uniformly dominated by the law of gravity, Thus, the theoretical basis of striving for individual freedom in politics is established.
Voltaire’s philosophical thought is based on the recognition of the objective reality of the world.
In metaphysics, on the premise of affirming the objectivity of the material world, he demonstrates that all ideas come from the senses’ feeling of external things, and points out that feeling is the only source of ideas.
In this way, on the basis of inheriting and developing Locke’s empirical principle, he overcame the incompleteness of Locke’s materialist sensory theory, that is, he overcame the contradiction between Locke’s materialist empiricism and his idealistic “reflective concept”.
At the same time, he also criticized Berkeley’s subjective idealism and “gifted concept”, and believed that the senses are the necessary gateway for us to understand the outside world.
The feeling is based on the external object.
The more feelings, the more ideas.
Voltaire’s materialism in the form of deism not only strongly attacked Christian theology, but also played a positive role in opposing metaphysics in the 17th century, especially Cartesian dualism and Leibniz’s “monalism”.
Although his philosophical thought still has obvious mechanical and historical idealism limitations, the materialist route he laid through Philosophical Monographs such as philosophical communication, metaphysics and Newton’s principles of philosophy undoubtedly played a significant role in promoting the development of the enlightenment in France and even the whole Europe under the cover of religious theocracy at that time.
To expose, ridicule and criticize the church and religious superstition is the main content of Voltaire’s all enlightenment activities.
Voltaire believed that the rule of the Catholic Church was the main enemy of the development of human rationality.
The obscurantism of the church caused widespread ignorance and religious fanaticism in society.
This religious persecution and theological obscurantism combined with the autocratic monarchy system hindered the development of human rationality.
He put forward the famous battle slogan “down with the ugly” for the church, which played an important role in uniting religious forces.
The so-called “ugly” refers to the priest.
This slogan is the program of all his activities.
He calls on all social progressive forces to fight against religion.
In Voltaire’s view, Catholicism is based on “the most despicable lies made up by the most despicable scoundrels”, and is the product of “the most despicable deceptions made by the most despicable bastards”.
Religious superstition and church rule are the great enemies of human rationality, and obscurantism is the root of all social evils.
Voltaire always fought against church and religious fanaticism in various forms.
He used the power of shocking tragedy to expel the Pope who pervaded French societyIt instilled hatred against the church and religious prejudice into the people, and advocated the ideas of rationality, science, freedom of belief and religious tolerance.
It played a great fighting role in the enlightenment and had far-reaching historical repercussions.
He used epics and impromptu satirical poems to laugh at the hypocrisy, despicability and shamelessness of priests, which often caused social resonance and panic of reactionary forces.
Using his own philosophical weapons, he focused on refuting the metaphysical speculative system that had become reactionary in the 18th century, which theoretically enlightened people’s thinking and cracked down on the arrogance of religion.
In terms of political system, Voltaire was deeply influenced by the British constitutional monarchy, inclined to implement an enlightened monarchy, opposed the implementation of democracy, and advocated mutual restraint among the house of Commons, the house of Lords and the king.
However, his fantasy of “enlightened monarch” suffered a heavy failure in Frederick.
Voltaire believed that freedom, ownership and equality are the basis of a just social order.
Equality refers to the equality of people’s natural ability and the use of this ability.
It also includes equality before the law and the abolition of hierarchical privileges.
Freedom refers to acting in accordance with the law.
He especially emphasizes the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, and believes that these two freedoms are the guarantee of all other freedoms.
Voltaire also refuted Rousseau’s view of “natural state”.
He praised rationality, respected civilization, and emphasized that the development of science and technology, culture and art and social production was conducive to the progress of social history.
In the process of compiling encyclopedia, he devoted himself to attacking the old and decadent feudal system and spreading the spirit of bourgeois liberalism.
With the passage of time and facing the cruel reality, Voltaire realized more and more clearly that the root of human suffering lies in the decadent and reactionary feudal economic system, political system and the spiritual rule of the reactionary church.
He has completed a large number of plays, novels and works, touching every field of society and sweeping every dark corner of society with the brush of laughter and abuse.
He paid special attention to teaching people to enlighten ignorance with wisdom, arm the mind with science, and expel the darkness of reality with rational sunshine.
He clearly realized that the premise of overthrowing the feudal autocratic rule was to oppose theocracy, religious superstition, criticize faithfulness and obscurantism, and break the spiritual shackles imposed by Catholicism on French society.
[Conclusion] Voltaire became the pioneer and giant of the French Enlightenment with his keen thought and profound knowledge.
Facing the dark rule of the Catholic Church and the cruel oppression of feudal autocracy, he carried out an indomitable struggle with his knowledge and wisdom, tried to use reason to drive away ignorance, and embodied the vibrant revolutionary spirit in the rising period of the bourgeoisie.
His thoughts made ideological and theoretical preparations for the great French Revolution.
It was under the guidance of his thought that the French bourgeoisie formulated the revolutionary programmatic document, the famous declaration of human rights.