Talk:Thomas Paine

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Rainbow flag[edit]

I think his proposal of a rainbow flag should belong in the article, but as its not a well known fact, i will propose it here first (this section is in the rainbow flag article, where i just added it):

He had proposed that the rainbow flag be used as a maritime flag, to signify neutral ships in time of war.[1][2][3]

  1. ^ New York: A Guide to the Empire State, Federal Writers Project, editors. New York State Historical Association, 1940, page 246 (American Guide Series)
  2. ^ online text from New York: A Guide to the Empire State
  3. ^ One Life at a Time, Please, Edward Abbey. New York: Henry Holt, 1988, ISBN 0805006036, page 58

Mercurywoodrose (talk) 16:43, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

"philosophes": Typo?[edit]

A sentence in S2.1 reads "Paine also used a notion of "common sense" favored by philosophes in the Continental Enlightenment". Is "philosophes" here just a typo for "philosophers", or is something different meant? I am reluctant simply to change it. Si Trew (talk) 19:03, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

See philosophes. --Saddhiyama (talk) 19:33, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. If that is the intended meaning, in its restricted sense, then I think it should be linked; but "philosophes in the Continental Enlightenment" is a tautology. Si Trew (talk) 21:45, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
"philosophes" in the Continental Enlightenment" works fine for me; to leave out "in the Continental Enlightenment" will confuse some readers who don't know exactly what "philisophe" means & wonder if it is a typo (it was the French term for 18th century intellectual & has been widely used by historians) Rjensen (talk) 01:44, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
It confused me. I wondered whether it was typo partly because philosophe wasn't linked. But the philosophe article itself states that there is disagreement about what exactly it means.
Philosophe should probably be linked: WP:UNDERLINK suggests linking "articles explaining words of technical terms, jargon or slang expressions/phrases—but you could also provide a concise definition instead of or in addition to a link" (my italics).
But that is not the whole solution; I can't think of a concise definition, but a link is no use in e.g. printed text. If it were my decision, I'd rewrite the para to avoid the word. Si Trew (talk) 21:21, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, having reread Rjensen's opening sentence– are you suggesting putting "philosophes" in quotes? And as a link? The quotes above aren't balanced, so I am not sure. Si Trew (talk) 21:29, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm recommending: [[philosophes]] in the Continental Enlightenment. If they don't know the "philosophe" word, then users should learn it now because it's an essential term when dealing with a very influential writer who spent critical years in France. Rjensen (talk) 00:17, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree that the linking will at least remove the question of whether it is a typo. But linking is not a cure for introducing specialist words without explanation. (It's the only use in the article.) It's not relevant whether readers know, or should know, the word: they shouldn't need to play guessing games. Had I been sure what was meant, I wouldn't have started this conversation: which I'm happy to let rest, if you are. Si Trew (talk) 00:12, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
With this edit I have linked philosophe, on which I think we all agree to do. Si Trew (talk) 21:15, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Word choice in the lead[edit]

I was struck by the choice of "rhetoric" in the following sentence in the lead:

"His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights."

To me, the word "rhetoric" connotes "just words" or "typical language", thus somewhat minimizing the importance of the ideas he took from the Enlightenment. I am not a historian, but I thought the ideas of the Enlightenment were both revolutionary and new and changed the course of history. It is true that he used rhetoric to effectively express his ideas, but if the ideas in his pamphlets were just rhetoric, he would not have had such an impact on so many people. I think a more precise, more meaningful word than "rhetoric" should be used here. I also think "transnational human rights" could be expressed in such a way that the average reader would easily understand. Something like:

"His ideas reflected ideas (or ideals) of the Enlightenment such as ....", or
"HIs ideas reflected the Enlightenment concept (or ideal) of...."CorinneSD (talk) 18:29, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Religious views[edit]

This section consists almost entirely of (uncited) quotations from his own writings. Since that is tantamount to original research it would be preferable to have all of those quotes exchanged with some editor-written prose based on reliable secondary sources. This is especially important since, as far as I understand it, there are some controversies amongst scholars regarding his religious beliefs. --Saddhiyama (talk) 16:12, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

  • I've added citations for a book published in the 19th century that contains several of these writings, which is freely available at this Google Books link Flakblak (talk) 23:36, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. But I wasn't asking for more primary sources, I was asking for some reliable secondary sources regarding his views. All those quotes and works by him may or may not suffer from a serious case of selection bias. The only way to avoid this is by presenting secondary sources. The reader can consult Wikisource to read Paines writings on the matter, here it is relevant to provide information about what the contemporary view is among scholars. --Saddhiyama (talk) 23:46, 12 November 2013 (UTC)