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Neither Angel nor Beast by Francis X.J. Coleman

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7

THE NASCENT POLEMICIST

Of crucial importance in understanding how Pascal moved from his geometrical studies to his investigations concerning man and God is ‘De l’esprit géométrique et de l’art de persuader’ – ‘On the Geometrical Mind and the Art of Persuasion.’ The date of composition, although uncertain, is usually given as around 1658. The tone of the short monograph is magisterial and precise; one senses that Pascal had in mind certain pupils for whom he was writing. We know that at about the same time Pascal had written a Preface for an essay on the elements of geometry for the Petites Ecoles de Port-Royal. Given that Pascal always had a clear idea of the audience he was attempting to reach, we can safely assume that he had the puils of ...

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