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Prémontval’s “General Misunderstanding on the Question of Optimism”

Strickland, Lloyd (2020) Prémontval’s “General Misunderstanding on the Question of Optimism”. Philosophical Readings, 12. ISSN 2036-4989 (In Press)


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One of the most original contributions to the optimism debate of the eighteenth century was put forward by the maverick French Enlightenment thinker, André-Pierre Le Guay de Prémontval (1716-1764), in an essay entitled “General misunderstanding on the question of optimism” (published 1757). This essay, which seeks to develop a “middle point” between the polarized pro- and anti-optimist positions that characterized the optimism debate, prefigures the development of process or neoclassical theism in important ways. The essay is presented here in English for the first time, along with an analysis of the essay itself and of the context in which it was written.

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