Pensées ("Thoughts") is a collection of fragments on theology and
philosophy written by 17th-century philosopher and mathematician
Blaise Pascal. Pascal's religious conversion led him into a life of
asceticism, and the
Pensées was in many ways his life's work. The
Pensées represented Pascal's defense of the Christian religion. The
concept of "Pascal's Wager" stems from a portion of this work.
Pensées is the name given posthumously to fragments that Pascal
had been preparing for an apology for Christianity, which was never
completed. That envisioned work is often referred to as the Apology
for the Christian Religion, although Pascal never used that title.
Pensées appears to consist of ideas and jottings, some
of which are incomplete, it is believed that Pascal had, prior to his
death in 1662, already planned out the order of the book and had begun
the task of cutting and pasting his draft notes into a coherent form.
His task incomplete, subsequent editors have disagreed on the order,
if any, in which his writings should be read. Those responsible for
his effects, failing to recognize the basic structure of the work,
handed them over to be edited, and they were published in 1670. The
first English translation was made in 1688 by John Walker. Another
English translation by W. F. Trotter was published in 1958. The
proper order of the
Pensées is heavily disputed.
Several attempts have been made to arrange the notes systematically;
notable editions include those of Léon Brunschvicg, Jacques
Chevalier, Louis Lafuma and (more recently) Philippe Sellier. Although
Brunschvicg tried to classify the posthumous fragments according to
themes, recent research has prompted Sellier to choose entirely
different classifications, as Pascal often examined the same event or
example through many different lenses. Also noteworthy is the
monumental edition of Pascal's Œuvres complètes (1964–1992), which
is known as the Tercentenary Edition and was realized by Jean
Mesnard; although still incomplete, this edition reviews the
dating, history and critical bibliography of each of Pascal's
^ Copleston, Frederick Charles (1958). History of Philosophy:
Descartes to Leibniz. p. 155. ISBN 0809100681.
^ a b Hammond, Nicholas (2000). "Blaise Pascal". In Hastings; et al.
The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought. p. 518.
^ Krailsheimer 1995, p. xviii.
^ Blaise Pascal, Stanford Encyclopedia of
^ Krailsheimer, A.J. (1995). "Introduction". Pensées. Penguin.
p. x. ISBN 0140446451. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Daston, Lorraine. Classical Probability in the Enlightenment.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.
^ The Project Gutenberg EBook of Pascal's Pensées, by Blaise Pascal
^ Jouslin, Olivier (2007). "Rien ne nous plaît que le combat": la
campagne des Provinciales de Pascal. 1. Presses Univ Blaise Pascal.
^ See in particular various works by Laurent Thirouin, for example
“Les premières liasses des Pensées : architecture et
signification”, XVIIe siècle, n°177 (spécial Pascal), oct./déc.
1992, pp. 451-468 or “Le cycle du divertissement, dans les liasses
classées”, Giornata di Studi Francesi, “Les
Pascal : du dessein à l’édition”, Rome, Université LUMSA,
11-12 October 2002.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Pensees at Project Gutenberg
Pensees in French
Etext version of the Pensées
1671 edition with old French spelling (PDF ebook)
Lettres provinciales (1656–1657)
Étienne Pascal (father)