BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)

Pascal was born in an aristocratic family. His father was eager to help this child prodigy develop.
Pascal lived together with Arnould in Port Royal.
Pascal was a mathematician (invention of the theory of probability),
a physicist (invention of a calculator with the binary system) ,
a philosopher.
Pascal wrote “Provinciales” in 1656 for the defence of Jansenism and Arnould.
There were many accusations from Jesuits against the Jansenists

Jansen or Jansenius 1585-1638 (>Jansenism)
a Dutch Catholic theologian who revived Augustianism
wrote a book Augustine in 1640
Jansenius and his followers (called themselves “Jansenists”)
disagreed with the Jesuits regarding Good’s grace.
The latter not only accused, but attempted to prosecute Jansenius and Arnould, the ardent follower. Jansenius escaped to Belgium and died in Brussels.

Pascal wrote “Pensées” (Thoughts) in 1669.
This is an opus of his thoughts about the nature of the human and also about the defense of Christianity from the Jansenists’ point of view.
In particular,
Pascal had a clear understanding of difference
the rational, mathematical ideal of science
the metaphysical non-rationalism of liberty of a human
and sharpened it.

In opposition to Descartes,
Irrational nature of a human is more emphasized by Pascal

the epistemological dualism
the knowledge
by l’esprit de geométrie – net et grossier
by l’esprit de finesse – delicat

the certainty of science does not consist in “more gemoetrico”, but
each science may attain its own certainty respectively.

Against the domain of l’esprit geométrique,
in the domain of “l’esprit de finesse“(The spirit of finesse)
Pascal asked the following questions of great importance for us.

“Qu’est-ce que le moi?” (What is self?) §323
“Qu’est-ce que l’homme dans la nature?” (What is a human in nature?) §72

“L’homme est un raseau pensant.” (The human is a thinking reed.)
“L’homme est un néant à l’égard de ;’infini, un tout à l’égard de néant, un milieu entre lien and et tout.” (the human is nothing in comparison to infinity, everything in comparison to nothing, a milieu between nothing and everything.) §72

The uniqueness of the individual is grasped by Pascal.

“Je ne puis approuver que ceux qui cherchent en gémissant.” (I do not approve those who do not search groaningly.) §421

“a mésure qu’on a plus d’esprit, on trouve qu’il y a plus d’hommes originaux. Les gens du commun ne trouent pas de différrence entre les hommes.” §7
(inasmuch as one has more spirit, one finds that there are more original humans. The common people do not find the differnce among the humans.)

“The greatest greatness and miseries are understood and expressed most well by the Christain philosophy and theology.”

“c’est le coeur qui sent Dieu, et non la raison. Voila ce que c’est que la foi. Dieu sensibles au coeur, non à la raison.” §278
(It is the heart that senses God and not Reason. Here it is this that is the essence of religion. God is felt by the heart, not by Reason.)

“Le ceour a ses raisons, que la raison ne connait pas.”
(The heart has its own reason that Reason does not know.) §277


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