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Jean Le Rond D’Alembert – Courage is a virtue for intellectuals

June 27, 2014

“We do not wish to resemble that multitude of naturalists (censured with such good reason by a modern philosopher [Buffon]) whose energies have been ceaselessly devoted to dividing the productions of Nature into genera and species, consuming an amount of time in this labor which would have been employed to much better purpose in the study of those productions themselves. What would be said of an architect, who, having to build an immense edifice, passed his whole life in drawing the plans for it? Or likewise what would we say of an inquisitive person who, proposing to inspect an enormous palace, spent all his time in observing the entryway?”

(from Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot, translated by Richard N. Schwab)

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