Blaise Pascal

Authored by: William David Wetsel

Early Modern Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844652228
eBook ISBN: 9781315729619
Adobe ISBN: 9781317546450

10.4324/9781315729619.ch10

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Abstract

Blaise Pascal (1623–62) was a towering intellectual figure in seventeenth-century France, the last of the universal geniuses in European history. His discoveries and ideas still have great influence in modern intellectual and scientific life. A true polymath, he made contributions in physics, mathematics, philosophy and theology. Students of physics have heard of Pascal’s vases; students of mathematics know of his triangle. It was he who established experimentally that the weight of the earth’s atmosphere varies according to altitude and first gave theoretical embodiment to the idea of the vacuum. His ideas also gave rise variously to the concept of the calculator or computer and to inexpensive public transportation.

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