Tag Archives: Encyclopédie

Diderot on the Encyclopédie

Noting that it could not be the work of a single man, for no one man is capable of knowing everything, Diderot refutes the Jesuit argument that the task would never be completed by saying that time, energy, and genius make impossible tasks possible.

An encyclopedia ought to make good the failure to execute such a project hitherto, and should encompass not only the fields already covered by the academies, but each and every brand of human knowledge. This is a work that cannot be completed except by a society of men of letters and skilled workmen, each working separately on his own part, but all bound together solely by their zeal for the best interests of the human race and a feeling of mutual good will.

Wondering what Diderot would say about Wikipedia today…

Source: Historical Text Archive.