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Pensées and Other Writings

by Blaise Pascal

For much of his life, Pas­cal (162362) worked on a mag­num opus which was nev­er pub­lished in the form the philoso­pher intend­ed. Instead, Pas­cal left a mass of frag­ments, some of them meant as notes for the Apolo­gie. These became known as the Pen­sées, and they occu­py a cru­cial place in West­ern phi­los­o­phy and reli­gious writ­ing. 

Pas­cal’s gen­er­al inten­tion was to con­found scep­ti­cism about meta­phys­i­cal ques­tions. Some of the Pen­sées are ful­ly devel­oped lit­er­ary reflec­tions on the human con­di­tion, some con­tra­dict oth­ers, and some remain jot­tings whose mean­ing will nev­er be clear. The most impor­tant are among the most pow­er­ful apho­risms about human expe­ri­ence and behav­ior ever writ­ten in any lan­guage.

This trans­la­tion is the only one based on the Pen­sées as Pas­cal left them. It includes the prin­ci­pal dossiers clas­si­fied by Pas­cal, as well as the essen­tial por­tion of the impor­tant Writ­ings on Grace. A detailed the­mat­ic index gives access to Pas­cal’s areas of con­cern, while the selec­tion of texts and the intro­duc­tion help to show why Pas­cal changed the plan of his pro­ject­ed work before aban­don­ing the book he might have writ­ten.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Clas­sics has made avail­able the broad­est spec­trum of lit­er­a­ture from around the globe. Each afford­able vol­ume reflects Oxford’s com­mit­ment to schol­ar­ship, pro­vid­ing the most accu­rate text plus a wealth of oth­er valu­able fea­tures, includ­ing expert intro­duc­tions by lead­ing author­i­ties, volu­mi­nous notes to clar­i­fy the text, up-to-date bib­li­ogra­phies for fur­ther study, and much more.


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