Perception, conception, représentation de l'espace dans l'oeuvre de Voltaire

Abstract : The concept of space totally changed in the 17th century with newton's discoveries. Voltaire insisted on fitting into this wide movement which renewed the vision of the universe. As a consequence of his scientific evolution he was beset with metaphysical questions, such as god's position in an empty space and epistemological questions, such as the limits to sensorial percept in apprehension of space. However astronomy provided him the appropriate model which suited all fields of knowledge. It helped to work out the myth of countries hit by the enlightnement, believing in a world in which reason is triumphant. It also allowed to justify through gravitation the necessary centralization of power. The geographic discoveries also enthalled Voltaire. He considered their importance according to criteria which were sometimes archaic but he left his work open to all new discoveries. The extension of man's living space (ecumenia) was for him the sign that philosophy was making progress. in his work, Voltaire's aim has been to represent the universe of his time and of all the ages. Apart from his historical writings, he has often only dwelled on the notion of space in order to make the developpement of history more concrete. Depending on the litterary genres, the times, the moods, the vision of one country or the other has been submitted to more or else important variations.
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Theses
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Maryvonne Crenn. Perception, conception, représentation de l'espace dans l'oeuvre de Voltaire. Littératures. Université Nancy 2, 1996. Français. ⟨NNT : 1996NAN21011⟩. ⟨tel-01776558⟩

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