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Term used to describe groups of thinkers of atheist tendencies, from the late 16th to the 17th century in France. Influences included Cardano, Bruno, Campanella, and in France itself Montaigne. The term could cover the dissipated and hedonistic way of life supposedly indulged in by those who throw off the shackles of religion, or the scholarly and dispassionate interest in the new science shown by philosophers such as Gassendi and Mersenne (so-called libertinage érudite).

Subjects: Literature.

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