Volume 59, Issue 2, 2012
Voltaire and Rousseau
Two Perspektives of Human Nature
The paper deals with Voltaire’s and Rousseau’s views on the character of human nature. The author compares their perspectives in the polemic related to the Lisbon earthquake in 1755. Rousseau reacts to Voltaire’s poem devoted to the catastrophe in his Letter on Providence where he criticizes Voltaire’s refusal of optimistic position and determines human neglecting of natural conditions as the main cause of Lisbon tragedy. In general Rousseau argues in favor of Providence and stresses the importance of his personal belief in providential guidance.