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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 31, Issue 3, 2021

Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the Twenty-First Century? Part II

Odile Richard
Pages 59-74

Reading Diderot’s Novels and Correspondence
What Can This Philosopher Teach Us about the Education of Young People?

This study deals with the contemporary relevance of Diderot’s ideas in matters of education. Neither a treatise nor an essay, Diderot’s practical observations are scattered throughout his letter correspondence and his fictional novels. According to our enquiry, the more physiological aspects are dealt with in the Encyclopedia. We will see that Diderot’s position is unconventional but does not necessarily follow in Rousseau’s wake. He rather tries to reach a fair balance between freedom and duty, focusing on women and sexual emancipation.