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Denis Diderot (1713—1784) French philosopher, writer, and critic

Montesquieu (1689—1755) French political philosopher

Jean Le Rond D'Alembert (1717—1783) French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712—1778) French philosopher and writer

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The contributors to the French Encyclopédie (28 vols., 1751–72), edited by D. Diderot and (initially) J. Le R. D'Alembert. The Encyclopédie sets out to review the full extent of human achievement in the arts and sciences from a secular standpoint. The tone is that of rationalist humanism and scepticism about the claims of revealed religion; pleas for religious and political liberty are insinuated into a mass of accurate information. It became a rallying point for opponents of established beliefs and practices in the political and social as well as the religious spheres.

Subjects: Christianity.

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