Years before Pope was to write his Essay on Man

Years before Pope was to write his Essay on Man - Years...

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Unformatted text preview: Years before Pope was to write his Essay on Man, the dictum "Whatever is, is right" had been defended by Archbishop William King in his De origine mali (1702). Bayle provided the most eloquent and telling rebuttal. How, he asked, can evil occur if the creator is infinitely good, infinitely wise, infinitely powerful? Thus Bayle emphatically rejected providentialism, as does Martin in this section. For Martin, summing up his long experiences, most men are predatory animals, cruel and unscrupulous. And if the guilty are occasionally punished, the innocent in great numbers suffer. It is of interest to learn that Voltaire did not readily reject the optimistic philosophy. In the first of his philosophical tales, Zadig (1747), he was not without optimism. His hero, like Candide, experienced great difficulties in his travels. He was nearly strangled in Babylon, barely escaped being roasted to great difficulties in his travels....
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