Pensées cover

Pensées

Blaise Pascal

1. 00: Introductory Note
2. 01: I – Thoughts on Mind and on Style
3. 02: II – The Misery of Man without God, part 1
4. 03: II – The Misery of Man without God, part 2
5. 04: III – Of the Necessity of the Wager
6. 05: IV – Of the Means of Belief
7. 06: V – Justice and the Reason of Effects
8. 07: VI – The Philosophers
9. 08: VII – Morality and Doctrine, part 1
10. 09: VII – Morality and Doctrine (part 2)
11. 10: VII – Morality and Doctrine, part 3
12. 11: VIII – The Fundamentals of the Christian Religion
13. 12: IX – Perpetuity
14. 13: X – Typology
15. 14: XI – The Prophecies, Part 1
16. 15: XI – The Prophecies, part 2
17. 16: XII – Proofs of Jesus Christ
18. 17: XIII – The Miracles
19. 18: XIV – Appendix: Polemical Fragments

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Summary

Pascal’s Pensées is widely considered to be a masterpiece, and a landmark in French prose. When commenting on one particular section (Thought #72), Sainte-Beuve praised it as the finest pages in the French language. Will Durant, in his 11-volume, comprehensive The Story of Civilization series, hailed it as “the most eloquent book in French prose.” In Pensées, Pascal surveys several philosophical paradoxes: infinity and nothing, faith and reason, soul and matter, death and life, meaning and vanity—seemingly arriving at no definitive conclusions besides humility, ignorance, and grace. Rolling these into one he develops Pascal’s Wager.