Encyclopédie Paper

A short essay on one article from the Encyclopédie of philosophical interest, to be written up (about 4000 words).

The TOPICS are listed here.

Your paper should detail: 

(1) the author (if identifiable; this may require research), and background on him or her; brief biographical details if it is someone we have already met. This may be important in determining whether the author is being completely candid.

(2) the main points discussed in the article; and 

(3) whether you can discern any subtext. The author may not be saying on the surface what a discerning reader will infer from the article; many authors did this to evade censorship.

In order to satisfactorily treat 2) and 3) you will usually be constructing an argument; either to establish what you think the hidden intention of the author may be, or to argue that there does not seem to be one, and that the main themes are meant to be taken literally.

English translations are available at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/did/, a site I highly recommend. 

(There are also English translations available in 2 of the books that I HAVE NEGLECTED TO PUT (!) on 1 day reserve: Denis Diderot, Encyclopedia: Selections (AE 25 E523); and Denis Diderot's The Encyclopedia (AC 20 D45). But no matter; the online resources are now clearly superior.)

Background research: An invaluable online resource, especially for identifying authors, is The ARTFL Encyclopédie Project, http://encyclopedie.uchicago.edu/

 You should also consult the original Encyclopédie: a compact edition is in the Mills Library, AE 25. E5 1969b, volumes 1-5. (Magnifying lens available from the Circulation Desk.) 

Please submit this paper in the Dropbox on Avenue by noon on Monday, November 13.

© Richard T. W. Arthur 2016