Lecture Series

Blaise Pascal: his life, his work, his time

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The connecting line of both conferences would come from the questioning that Pascal poses to himself in his Pensees: "Am I God? Am I nothing?"

The first day will be devoted to analyzing how a surprising mathematician, with an early career and instantaneous prestige, goes to methodically annihilating (anéantir) the intellectual world he had methodically built. And in that world, particularly, that mundane fiction that we call the "ego". In his appearance in front of Monsieur de Sacy, the spiritual master of Port-Royal, in January 1655, we will set that inflection point in the biography of Pascal confronting the paradox of a world without cure that Jansenism faces.

The second day we will alternate between the central pars of the Pensees which initiate the destruction of the ego with the last public intervention of Blaise Pascal, a few months prior to his death: the three conferences on the palace od the duke of Luynes, which Pierre Nicole has preserved in the texts entitled Trois discours sur la condition des grands.  We will seek within those texts to verify if possible a mundane intervention for the Christian model required by Port-Royal and to which Pascal attempted to find a theoretical fundament.