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The programme begins by contrasting letters from Rousseau and Voltaire that set forth some of their basic ideas, and then contrasts their personalities revealing the vast differences between them. ...Rousseau believed that society and civilisation had corrupted men, that inequality and depravity had begun when men developed a sense of property. This did not endear him to Voltaire, whose basic contention was that society, while not perfect, had improved men's basically savage attitudes. As the personal antipathy between the two men grew so did the savagery of their written attacks on each other. Initially Voltaire and Diderot were close friends, their ideas too quite similar, but when Rousseau began to put his ideas into practice - living a poor, solitary life - their seperation became evident. Although Diderot's ideas about feeling and imagination did finally move closer to Rousseau's, their feeling of mutual betrayal made any sort of reconciliation impossible.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 18
Recording date: 1979-08-21
First transmission date: 17-06-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:17:36
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Producer: Tony Coe
Contributors: Geoffrey Bayldon; John Cocking; Michael McClain
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Diderot; Feeling and reason; Voltaire
Master spool number: TLN34950H933
Production number: TLN34950H933
Available to public: no