2016年1月15日 星期五

《伏爾泰》《哲學辭典 》《哲學書簡》Lettres Philosophiques/Letters Concerning the English Nation

“Writing is the painting of the voice; the closer the resemblance, the better it is”
-- Voltaire



龍應台專文:救生艇裏放聲唱歌──給香港的九十後
......生於一六九四年的伏爾泰,其實就是一個三百年前的「九十後」。看見了獨裁體制的不公不義,看穿了宗教組織的偽善和獨斷,這個聰慧機敏的九十後用筆的力量,在巴黎、倫敦、日內瓦的思想街頭馳騁;三百年後的九十後們,用各種方法在試探權力的看不見的那條線,在紐約、伊斯坦堡、開羅、曼谷、臺北、香港的街頭和廣場奔走。

三百年,世界變了很多,但是根本性的問題,九十後青年伏爾泰所思索追究的問題,並未改變;譬如說,權力的拳頭到哪裏必須停止?自由的極限可以擴張到多大,由誰來界定?譬如說,追求真理很重要,容忍也很重要,但是當追求真理必須殘酷而與容忍的精神相違背時,你站到哪一邊去?

伏爾泰說過的一句話,讓後來的人 ── 幾乎是全世界的人,一再地傳頌、引用:「我不同意你的看法,但是我誓死維護你說出看法的權利。」雖然歷史翻案者說,他的逐字原文並非如此,但是這句話確實代表了他一輩子的信仰和堅持。

我注意到的是,他還說了很多別的話,意義之深刻,令我在三百年後看著今日局勢的忽冷忽熱、權力的忽東忽西、價值的忽上忽下,仍舊驚詫不已。

他說,歷史?歷史就是大家都共同接受、贊同的謊言。

他說,真正糟糕的其實不是貧富不均而是依賴的形成。

他說,我們要熱愛真理,但是也必須懂得原諒犯錯……

.....以及迎向陽光、迎向風雨的信心。我用三百年前的九十後伏爾泰的一句話送給今天香港的九十後:

Life is a shipwreck but we must remember to sing in the lifeboats.






《伏爾泰》《哲學辭典 》

2010.10 伏爾泰 (Voltaire, 1694-1775, 傾一生之力著作的法國哲人關於不斷坦承說法可以參考R. Pomeau伏爾泰(上海人民出版社, 2010) 中的摘要《哲學辭典 人類思想 (心靈的侷限》 (174-75) 和《無知的哲學家》頁183-84.
《哲學辭典 》北京:商務1995 pp.260-61



這本書很久以前中國就有翻譯本

我要是信徒,不入天主教,便入貴格會。

哲學書簡


  • 作者:伏爾泰/著出版社:生活人文出版日期:2005年


法國評論家朗松(Gustave Lanson)描述本書為:「投向舊制度的第一顆炸彈。」
伏爾泰是法國人,而他曾居住在英國一段時間。這段期間,他拜會過著名的思想家、文學家,學會了英文、讀了洛克、培根、牛頓、莎士比亞等人的著作,看到英國 工商業的發達、宗教的寬容和政治上的開明。因此,他把這段期間的英國見聞,大部分用英文寫下,以書信體裁發表了著名的《哲學書簡》,於1733年首度在英 國倫敦出版,系統性地介紹、評論英國的政治、社會、宗教、文藝發展狀況。
  1734年,《哲學書簡》的法文版在法國出版,法國政府大為震怒,出版商遭逮捕、書籍全部遭到焚燬,伏爾泰再度流亡,該書則改在荷蘭出版,可見此書在當時引發的震撼。
  這場風暴可說是啟蒙運動的序幕,法國評論家朗松(Gustave Lanson)描述本書為:「投向舊制度的第一顆炸彈。」
  伏爾泰可以說是影響法國啟蒙運動最深且最重要的一個思想家。而《哲學書簡》則是開啟法國啟蒙運動的第一部重要論述,想認識啟蒙運動者,不可不讀!
作者簡介
伏爾泰(1694-1778)
  原名馮索瓦‧馬西‧阿虎埃(Fran�ois Marie Arouet),是法國啟蒙運動的重要思想家,也是多才多藝的多產作家,作品橫跨哲學、文學、歷史、政治、自然科學等。
   在哲學方面,他的重要著作除了本書《哲學書簡》以外,還包括《哲學辭典》、《論信仰自由》等;在文學方面,伏爾泰的著作更豐,包括小說、喜劇、悲劇、諷 刺詩等,皆廣受歡迎,名著包括《戇第德》、《中國孤兒》、《伊底帕斯》、《穆罕默德》等;在歷史方面,則有《路易十四時代》、《查理十二世史》、《風俗 論》等重要著作。



Lettres Philosophiques/Letters Concerning the English Nation《哲學通信》



《哲學通信》這本書,我80年代末才知道,所以1977年留學英國前,遍讀中文的"英國論"相關著作,卻沒讀過它,實在遺憾。今天留英的人數,可能是70年代的數十倍,希望他們能有機會讀讀它。

Letters on the English
Lettres anglaises voltaire.jpg
Title page from 1734 edition of Letters on the English
AuthorVoltaire
Original titleLettres philosophiques
CountryFrance
LanguageFrench
SubjectPhilosophy
GenreCollection of essays
PublisherBasile
Publication date
1734
Published in English
1778
Lettres philosophiques (or Letters Concerning the English Nation) is a series of essays written by Voltaire based on his experiences living in England between 1726 and 1729 (though from 1707 the country was part of the Kingdom of Great Britain). It was published first in English in 1733 and then in French the following year, where it was seen as an attack on the French system of government and was rapidly suppressed. Most modern English-language versions are based on a translation of the French text rather than Voltaire's English one.
In some ways, the book can be compared with Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville, in how it flatteringly explains a nation to itself from the perspective of an outsider, as Voltaire's depictions of aspects of English culture, society and government are often given favourable treatment in comparison to their French equivalents.

Summary

Lettres anglaises consists of twenty-four letters:
  • Letter I: On The Quakers
  • Letter II: On The Quakers
  • Letter III: On The Quakers
  • Letter IV: On The Quakers
  • Letter V: On The Church of England
  • Letter VI: On The Presbyterians
  • Letter VII: On The Socinians, or Arians, or Antitrinitarians
  • Letter VIII: On The Parliament
  • Letter IX: On The Government
  • Letter X: On Trade
  • Letter XI: On Inoculation
  • Letter XII: On The Lord Bacon
  • Letter XIII: On Mr. Locke
  • Letter XIV: On Descartes and Sir Isaac Newton
  • Letter XV: On Attraction
  • Letter XVI: On Sir Isaac Newton's Optics
  • Letter XVII: On Infinites in Geometry, and Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology
  • Letter XVIII: On Tragedy
  • Letter XIX: On Comedy
  • Letter XX: On Such of The Nobility as Cultivate The Belles Lettres
  • Letter XXI: On The Earl of Rochester and Mr. Waller
  • Letter XXII: On Mr. Pope and Some Other Famous Poets
  • Letter XXIII: On The Regard That Ought to Be Shown to Men of Letters
  • Letter XXIV: On The Royal Society and Other Academies

Religion

Voltaire first addresses religion in Letters 1–7. He specifically talks about Quakers (1–4), Anglicans (5), Presbyterians (6), and Socinians (7).
In the Letters 1-4, Voltaire describes the Quakers, their customs, their beliefs, and their history. He appreciates the simplicity of their rituals. In particular, he praises their lack of baptism ("we are not of opinion that the sprinkling water on a child's head makes him a Christian"), the lack of communion ("'How! no communion?' said I. 'Only that spiritual one,' replied he, 'of hearts'"), and the lack of priests ("'You have, then, no priests?' said I to him. 'No, no, friend,' replies the Quaker, 'to our great happiness'"), but still expresses concern regarding the manipulative nature of organized religion.
Letter 5 is devoted to the Anglican religion, which Voltaire compares favourably to Catholicism("With regard to the morals of the English clergy, they are more regular than those of France"), but he criticizes the ways in which it has stayed true to the Catholic rituals, in particular ("The English clergy have retained a great number of the Romish ceremonies, and especially that of receiving, with a most scrupulous attention, their tithes. They also have the pious ambition to aim at superiority").
In Letter 6, Voltaire attacks the Presbyterians, whom he sees as intolerant ("[The Presbyterian] affects a serious gait, puts on a sour look, wears a vastly broad-brimmed hat and a long cloak over a very short coat, preaches through the nose, and gives the name of the whore of Babylon to all churches where the ministers are so fortunate as to enjoy an annual revenue of five or six thousand pounds, and where the people are weak enough to suffer this, and to give them the titles of my lord, your lordship, or your eminence") and overly strict ("No operas, plays, or concerts are allowed in London on Sundays, and even cards are so expressly forbidden that none but persons of quality, and those we call the genteel, play on that day; the rest of the nation go either to church, to the tavern, or to see their mistresses").
Finally, in the Letter 7, he talks about the "Socinians," whose belief system is somewhat related to Voltaire's own deist viewpoint. Voltaire argues that while this sect includes some of the day's most important thinkers (including Newton and Locke), this is not enough to persuade the common man that it is logical. According to Voltaire, men prefer to follow the teachings of "wretched authors" such as Martin LutherJohn Calvin, or Huldrych Zwingli.

Politics

In Letters 8 and 9, Voltaire discusses the English political system.
Letter 8 talks about the British parliament, which he compares to both Rome and France. In terms of Rome, Voltaire criticizes the fact that Britain has entered wars on account of religion (whereas Rome did not), but he praises Britain for serving liberty rather than tyranny (as in Rome). In terms of France, Voltaire responds to French criticism concerning the regicide of Charles I by highlighting the British judicial process as opposed to the outright murders of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII or Henry III of France, or the multiple attempts on the life of Henry IV of France.
In Letter 9, Voltaire gives a brief history of the Magna Carta, talks about the equal dispensing of justice, and the levying of taxes.

Trade and commerce

In Letter 10, Voltaire praises the English trade system, its benefits, and what it brings to the English (from 1707, British) nation. According to Voltaire, trade greatly contributed to the liberty of the English people, and this liberty in turn contributed to the expansion of commerce. It is trade as well that gave England its naval riches and power. In addition, Voltaire takes the opportunity to satirize the  German and French nobles who ignore this type of enterprise. For Voltaire, nobles are less important than the businessman who "contributes to the felicity of the world."

Medicine

In Letter 11, Voltaire argues in favour for the English practice of inoculation, which was widely mistrusted and condemned in continental Europe. This letter is probably in response to a 1723 small pox epidemic in Paris that killed 20,000 people.

Famous Britons

Letter 12 speaks of Francis Bacon, author of Novum Organum and father of experimental philosophy.
Letter 13 is about John Locke and his theories on the immortality of the soul.
Letter 14 compares British philosopher Isaac Newton to French philosopher René Descartes. Upon his death in 1727, Newton was compared to Descartes in a eulogy performed by French philosopher Fontenelle. While the British did not appreciate this comparison, Voltaire argues that Descartes, too, was a great philosopher and mathematician.
Letter 15 focuses on Newton's work with the laws of attraction. Letter 16 talks about Newton's work with optics. Letter 17 discusses Newton's work with geometry and his theories on the end of the world.

Art

In Letter 18, Voltaire talks about British tragedy, specifically in the hands of William Shakespeare. Voltaire presents his readers with the famous "To be, or not to be" soliloquy in Hamlet along with a translation into French rhyming verse. He also cites a passage from John Dryden and gives a translation.
In Letter 19, Voltaire addresses British comedy, citing William WycherleyJohn Vanbrugh, and William Congreve.
Letter 20 speaks briefly of the belles lettres of the nobility, including the Earl of Rochester and Edmund Waller.
Letter 21 references the poetry of Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope.
In Letter 23, Voltaire argues that the British honour their Men of Letters far better than the French in terms of money and veneration.
The last letter, letter 24, discusses the Royal Society of London, which he compares unfavourably to the Académie Française.

Letter XXV

Philosophy

In the letter 25, which was not included with the original twenty-four, Voltaire criticizes certain ideas of Blaise Pascal by taking citations from his Pensées and giving his own opinion on the same subject. The most important difference between the two philosophers is in their conception of man. Pascal insists on the miserable aspect of man who must fill the emptiness of his life with amusements, while Voltaire accepts the optimistic Enlightenment view.

External links




中國有翻譯本; 哲學通信,有幾種版本.....


伏爾泰的哲學和政治思想代表作。
《哲學通信》
Lettres Philosophiques

   伏 爾泰的哲學和政治思想代表作。伏爾泰於1726~1729年被迫流亡英國。《哲學通信》是他在英國的觀感和心得的總結,因此又稱《英國通信》,1733年 首先在英國出版英文版,法文版於1734年問世。伏爾泰在《哲學通信》中結合向法國讀者介紹F.培根、洛克和牛頓的思想,表述了自己的哲學思想。像洛克一 樣,他的哲學思想前提是承認物質世界的客觀性。書中重點論述認識論問題,認為人的一切觀念都來自感官對外界事物的感覺,感覺是感官接受外物刺激引起的。它 強調感覺是觀念的唯一來源,人的頭腦唯一具有的能力是對感覺得來的觀念進行組合和整理。書中力圖克服洛克關於「反省觀念」的不徹底性,把唯物主義的感覺論 貫徹到底。從此出發,書中尖銳地批判了R.笛卡爾的天賦觀念論,特彆強調這種形而上學體系的危害性,認為天賦觀念論不僅阻礙人類知識的增長,而且為神學提 供根據,代替早已破產的經 院哲學而為靈魂不滅等宗教信條作哲學辯護。該書堅持與宗教唯心論鬥爭,認為宗教和教會統治是人類理性的主要敵人。阻礙文明進步,是最大的社會禍害。他受同 時代機械論的影響,缺乏對物質與運動統一性的認識。書中用牛頓力學的原理解釋物質和運動,把物質看作消極被動的因素,認為如果沒有外力的推動,物質不會自 己運動。因此承認宇宙設計師和第一推動者神的存在,表現出自然神論的思想。

   

《哲學通信》
《哲學通信》中譯本封面

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