Review of Metaphysics 28 (2):342-343 (1974)

The author of this study aims to provide a synthetic survey of Diderot’s philosophy, as distinguished from the numerous analytic studies that have been made of particular aspects of the Frenchman’s thought. The central thread uniting Diderot’s various works, Crocker contends, is a view of the universe as comprising simultaneously both order and disorder in an ineluctable tension. In the initial chapter, Crocker outlines this rather loose theme by examining Diderot’s "dynamic" conception of the physical universe and man’s ambiguous relation to it. The theme is elucidated in succeeding chapters devoted, respectively, to Diderot’s aesthetic theories, his view of morality, and his political thought. Crocker stresses the evolution of Diderot’s thought on these subjects as a consequence of the very intractability of the central problem that concerned him. Although Diderot often contradicted himself, the author concludes, his self-contradictions were a reflection of the contradictory nature of reality as perceived by both Diderot and the author.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph19742823
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