Of primary interest in these chapters is the old philosopher, Martin. In important ways, he stood for the attitude of Pierre Bayle, just as Pangloss did for Leibnitz. A word about Bayle is therefore in order. Voltaire had discovered him early, and particularly after the Lisbon earthquake his letters were filled with eulogies of him as the leading opponent of optimistic philosophy. Bayle (1647-1706), lexicographer, philosopher, critic, had been a Protestant who became a Catholic and then reverted to protestantism. At last, in faith he became a Pyrrhonian (an adherent to the system of gnosiology, which treats of the sources, limits, and validity of knowledge, and which inculcates skepticism). In a word, he was an absolute skeptic. Voltaire was especially attracted to him because he was a champion of tolerance in opinion. His attack on superstitions, his view of morality as being
This is the end of the preview.
access the rest of the document.