Talk:Blaise Pascal

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Former featured article Blaise Pascal is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 19, 2005.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 25, 2005 Peer review Reviewed
August 4, 2005 Featured article candidate Promoted
September 12, 2011 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article


Is it true what is said in Joyce's 'Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man'?

"--Pascal, if I remember rightly, would not suffer his mother to kiss him as he feared the contact of her sex."

  • His mother was dead by the time he was three, so probably this is unfounded. Christopher Parham (talk) 06:59, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


There are too many images, and it's making this page crowded. I say we remove the stamp image, and develop a caption for the statue image. -- Removed this passage: "Following an accident in 1654 at the Neuilly bridge where the horses plunged over the parapet but the carriage miraculously survived, Pascal abandoned mathematics and physics for philosophy and theology." Source? Pascal's turn toward religion is commonly attributed to his mystical experience of Nov. 23, 1654. Mark K. Jensen 09:47, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)

Found a source placing the accident in question 15 days before Pascal's mystical experience. [1] Mark K. Jensen 01:25, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Add a quotations section?[edit]

Would it be appropriate to add a quotations section, or does this deserve a separate article, a list perhaps? Pascal has many famous quotes, and Wikipedia would benefit from the added content. Forgive me if such a list exists already, I am still learning the ropes around here. Joy Schoenberger 08:51 19 August, 2005 (EST)

Yeah, he has some awesome quotes. I listed a bunch in the Pensees article just to keep the Pascal article as lean as possible when I was working on it. There's also the wikiquote link at the bottom. David Bergan 16:15, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Other info to add[edit]

Chris, just some extra things about Pascal that I read in Will Durant's excellent account of him in The Story of Civilization. I don't have the book with me, so I'm just jotting down things from memory. When I get to the book, I'll give you more specific info and sources. But to whatever extent you know of these things, you can add them in.

  • Part of Pascal's religious conversion had to do with his niece's miraculous recovery from a fistula in her eye. Seven doctors examined the fistula and pronounced the situation hopeless. Then his niece was taken to a monestary where a group of nuns took a supposed thorn from the crown of Christ and each kissed it in turn. They touched the fistula with the thorn and it was healed. However, it wasn't the nuns that proclaimed it a miracle, but the seven doctors. Pascal did something (like the coat-note) to always remember the occasion.
  • Provincial Letters: From a literary point of view I remember that Durant quoted two or three notable people saying that these letters were among the finest things ever written in the French language. I'll obviously have to dig these up before we can include them.
  • Pascal's skepticism was largely a result of reading Montaigne. Thus when he gets to his existential-like thoughts in Pensees, he largely distrusts reason as being able to lead one to God. Ergo, the Wager. I wouldn't consider Pensees an "attack on skepticism" as it is written in the article, since they are laden with distrust in reason (ie. #72 [2]). But the Wager arises as the only common-sense answer once a person is skeptical toward both reason and revelation.
  • Durant had another quote of someone saying that Pascal's picture of humans being between infinities (in the linked reference above) was "the greatest prose written in the French language."
  • Descartes was a friend of Pascal's father. One of Blaise's prodigal works in mathematics was noticed by Descartes and wrongly attributed by the great mathematician to his father.
  • Attitude: Durant describes Pascal as being always conflicted with pain and never smiling. He had frequent migraines, a grumpy temperment and sour disposition.
  • Autopsy: Durant details what the doctors found in the autopsy... rotted intestines, and other things that lead to the stomach cancer theory. But also they found two depressions in his brain the size of fingers... which might have explained the headaches.

That's all I can think of right now. I'll flesh these out when I get to my book. David Bergan 18:04, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Thanks for mentioning the Miracle of the Holy Thorn; I had completely neglected that which was a pretty important moment.
  • I mentioned the influence of Montaigne on Pascal's questioning on human certainty; I also incorporated the story about Descartes, which I've seen in a couple places, as evidence of his precociousness.
  • I've actually been looking for a good source to which I could attribute the claim that Pascal's was the greatest prose author; the French literature article makes a claim like this but it's unsourced. I've added something like that to the article, but it would be nice to get a quote especially from someone famous. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:17, 2005 July 30 (UTC)

Comment on Pascal's Wager[edit]

Edit [3] by, removed the sentences: Indeed, Pascal's Wager is only respectable after the Excalibur of his mind shreds the foundations of reason. Out of this context, the Wager smells like a tactic to scare children to go to Sunday School. I wrote the sentences, so obviously I kind of like them. I think they encapsulate what most people think when they first hear of Pascal's Wager ("childish scare tactic for Sunday School") and lets the reader know that it really isn't fair to judge the Wager outside of Pascal's immensely skeptical context. So I'd like to hear the reasons from the other side and see what people feel about this edit. David Bergan 14:28, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I had heard of Pascal's Wager that he did not expect to "scare" people into belief in God, but rather challenged them to live for a year as if they believed, in the hope that if God does exist, he would during that year, or by the end of it, instill the challenger with real faith. I thought the wager itself was just an introduction to this challeng. Has anyone else heard this? Joy Schoenberger 8:48, 19 August, 2005 (EST)
That would be great info, especially for the Pascal's Wager or Pensees article, too. Find us a source and we'll put it in somewhere. But no, I haven't heard of that before. David Bergan 16:17, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Many people mistakenly assume Pascal is arguing for belief in God, but belief, or faith, is not a simple matter of will. He is arguing, rather, that one should wager for the existence of God. Pascal, when discussing his Wager in Pensées, states an objection by an imaginary skeptic: "[I] am so made that I cannot believe. What, then, would you have me do?" He advises those who accept his Wager to act like a believer, and suppress those passions that are obstacles to becoming a believer:
  • You would like to attain faith, and do not know the way; you would like to cure yourself of unbelief, and ask the remedy for it. Learn of those who have been bound like you, and who now stake all their possessions. These are people who know the way which you would follow, and who are cured of an ill of which you would be cured. Follow the way by which they began; by acting as if they believed, taking the holy water, having masses said, etc...
  • But to show you that this leads you there, it is this which will lessen the passions, which are your stumbling-blocks.
I could not find any evidence the "one-year challenge" I spoke of. That's probably just a rumor. Pascal did expect faith to come with action, though, as evidenced by his own words. Joy Schoenberger 12:55, 19 August 2005 (EST)

Newton or Leibniz?[edit]

User made the following edit [4]:

The work done by Fermat and Pascal into the calculus of probabilities laid important groundwork for Leibniz's formulation of the infinitesimal calculus.
The work done by Fermat and Pascal into the calculus of probabilities laid important groundwork for Isaac Newton's formulation of the infinitesimal calculus.

I believe that the phrase is correct using Leibniz, based on this web site. If someone has additional material pointing to Newton as being similarly influenced we can have them both up there. David Bergan 14:51, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


It seems funny to me that Pascal's invention of the roulette wheel isn't mentioned in the article. Or is it just a myth? If so, it is a common myth perpetuated by Wikipedia's article on Roulette and is at least worth a sentence.

  • The sources I can find online suggest that his invention of the wheel is disputed; I at least wouldn't be comfortable adding it without some sort of more conclusive source. It wasn't mentioned by any of the sources I used to write the article, but if you find something that seems reliable please add it in. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:47, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Catholic Philosopher?[edit]

ErikNorvelle added the category of "Catholic Philosopher" to the article. I'm pretty sure Pascal wasn't a "Catholic Philosopher". His Provincial Letters were scathing toward the Jesuits, and he identified himself as a Jansenist, which the popes declared heresy. I removed the label, but feel free to present a case if you think I'm wrong. David Bergan 16:52, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Greetings David... obviously I'm treading on controversial ground. I think I'm right on this one, though. First, Pascal never dissociated himself from the Roman Catholic Church, nor was he ever excommunicated. Therefore, it can be said that he died a Catholic. His attacks against the Jesuits were an attack against *one* of many varieties of spirituality within the Catholic Church, not against Catholicism per se. I think the term "Catholic Philosopher" can be used in two senses. First, in the sense of being a philosopher who is defending Catholic Christianity in a direct way. Second, in the sense of being a Catholic who practices philosophy. Pascal is certainly a "Catholic Philosopher" in the second sense, even though he'll never be a "Doctor of the Church". Cheers... ErikNorvelle 18:53, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi Erik. Sorry if I seemed to come a little over the top on this. I can see where you're coming from. How are we going to determine whether or not the label Catholic Philosopher means "Defender of Catholic Philosophy" or "Philosopher who happened to (officially) be a Catholic"? Voltaire could probably even be considered a Catholic Philosopher in the second sense.
To me, "Catholic Philosopher" sounds like Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, or Erasmus... not a man who directly confronted (a significant aspect of) Catholicism in one of his greatest literary works. As you pointed out the confusion is due to the ambiguity of the label... so how should we resolve it? David Bergan 20:37, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm re-categorizing Pascal as a Roman Catholic philosopher. The label is appropriate, since Pascal was both an avowed Roman Catholic and a philosopher. User:Schlier22 00:00, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
"Avowed"? I think not. I can't see Pascal calling himself a Roman Catholic philosopher. He had no stake in defending Catholicism, and to the contrary, directly attacked a significant aspect of it. His Pensees on religion are no apology for Catholicism, but rather an effort to build Christianity independently from the abyss of skepticism. Sorry, but the label does not stick. Being a "Roman Catholic" and a "philosopher" is not the same as a "Roman Catholic philosopher." The latter implies specifically defending or explaining the Catholic faith. David Bergan 15:58, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, David, but Pascal lived and died a faithful Catholic. His involvement in the Jansenist movement involved attacks on the Jesuits, but not on the Catholic Church as such. Indeed, Augustinianism, the intellectual movement out of which Jansenism grew, was a theological position in perfectly good standing within the Church. That Pascal's Pensees were written in defense of Christianity in general rather than Roman Catholicism in particular says nothing against Pascal's specifically Catholic commitments, which were in any case defended in the Pensees by proxy. Moreover, Pascal's provincial letters--directed against the Jesuits--embodied an overall argument for Augustinianism's standing as a more legitimate expression of authentic Catholic theology. Why else would Pascal take such great pains to persuade his antagonists that the version of Jansenism to which he subscribed was not heretical according to the Catholic tradition? If Pascal was not concerned at all with Catholicism, it makes little sense that he would make this sort of appeal to Catholic orthodoxy. As for Pascal's defiance of the Church's attempts to condemn certain tenets of Jansenism, it can be said that Pascal sought reconciliation with the Church at the end. On his deathbed he cried out for and received the Last Rites in ecstasy, as is made evident in the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on Pascal. Last Rites can only be received by an individual who acknowledges his union and adherence to the Catholic Church and her teachings. Pascal was indeed a Roman Catholic philosopher. User:Schlier22 23:16, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Good points, but I'm still hesitant. This will probably help clear things up...
To you, does "Roman Catholic philosopher" mean "Defender of Catholic Philosophy" or "Philosopher who happened to (technically) be a Catholic (when he died)"? To me (and perhaps others) it means the former, which I think we would agree Pascal was not. And even if it does imply the latter to you, we have an issue of using an ambiguous label; one that deceives some people to thinking that Pascal was a champion of the Catholic faith, when instead he either ignored the denominational differences or approached them quite skeptically. David Bergan 23:14, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

In answer to question one: To me, a Roman Catholic philosopher is someone whose philosophical writings is influenced by his or her Catholicism in a significant way. This was certainly the case for Pascal, even if his writings can be considered ecumenical in a certain sense. As to your statement that Pascal "ignored the denominational differences or approached them quite skeptically," I must disagree. In his Pensees, we find him both upholding the Pope as the "Head" of the Church, defending the particularly Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, telling us that contrition "is not real if it does not seek the sacrament [of penance]," and finally saying that those who deny the "[real] presence [of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament]...are heretics." (See frag. 871, 872, 862, 923)--Schlier22 00:17, 1 September 2007 (UTC)


Chris, I reinstated the part about Leibniz, because from what I've read Leibniz was the one who studied Pascal/Fermat and built his approach to the calculus on their work. Newton, I think, came to it more from Descartes's work, but I am less certain of that. David Bergan 14:21, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Article Direction[edit]

When searching for Pascal I was brought to an article about the Pascal physics unit. It seems obvious that the biography of a man should come before an article about a connotation in the mans honor, so I think it should direct here first.

Cultural depictions of Blaise Pascal[edit]

I've started an approach that may apply to Wikipedia's Core Biography articles: creating a branching list page based on in popular culture information. I started that last year while I raised Joan of Arc to featured article when I created Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc, which has become a featured list. Recently I also created Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great out of material that had been deleted from the biography article. Since cultural references sometimes get deleted without discussion, I'd like to suggest this approach as a model for the editors here. Regards, Durova 16:30, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

FA status[edit]

I noticed that this article is rated FA-class, but currently has a number of these [5] style citations in it, and certain portions of it are not well sourced. Is anyone working on keeping this article up to the current FA guidelines? Chubbles 02:52, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I am maintaining the article, or at least the aspects of it I care about, of which tedious citation format issues are not one. What statements do you think are likely to be challenged that do not have sources? Christopher Parham (talk) 03:29, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's likely to be challenged, but FA-class articles are generally well supported with inline sources regardless, right? Chubbles 07:42, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The standard is that statements which are challenged or likely to be challenged (along with quotations, paraphrases, etc.) require specific citation. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:42, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Hexagon or Hexagram?[edit]

on this page it claims that pascal's theorem involves a hexagram but on the page dedicated to the theory it says it involves a hexagon. Which is it, because I really don't know enough about maths to say.

What was meant by the person writing, I think, was to define hexagram as any six-sided figure; as far as I know this is a valid definition, but it doesn't seem to be used on Wikipedia. I will eliminate the confusion. Christopher Parham (talk) 13:15, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Hello my friend!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Major Lack of Evidence[edit]

Some of the claims in this article--particularly those meant to bear on Pascal's psychology and personality--go way beyond the historical record.

For example, in the "Religious Conversion" section, the article claims that Pascal was "subject to deepening hypochondria... irritable, subject to fits of proud and imperious anger, and seldom smiled." Now I'd say there's no good historical evidence for any of that (Pascal certainly had health problems, but there's evidence to suggest he minimized them; anger and never smiling--says who?). For its part, the article cites a book by Sainte-Beuve. Unfortunately Sainte-Beuve was a 19th century literary critic who was putting together a speculative psychological account based on his own convictions about what had to lay behind Pascal's conversion. Whether or not we agree with Sainte-Beuve's understanding of psychology, these claims should be based on solid historical evidence, since they're presented as historical fact.

Just because you can find a source that makes speculative claims doesn't mean we should be repeating those claims here as though they are historical facts.

I'm also very suspicious of the claims made about Pascal's conflict with his sister. I don't think evidence for these claims are contained in any of Pascal's letters, and it's hard to imagine what other first-hand source for this information we could have. Again, I think this information sounds speculative, but I can't quite tell where the citation points... Did "Ibid#4" used to be Sainte-Beuve? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Mathematician of the first order[edit]

Anybody know what that means? Are there second order mathematicians? Is this some sort of Maclaurin series term? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mraevsky (talkcontribs) 00:21, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

I think it means he was good at math. BTW, what on earth do Maclaurin series have to do with this? Isn't a Maclaurin series an infinite summation that is equal to an irrational term, such as  sin(43) ? J.delanoygabsadds 00:27, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

WHY WAS MY EDIT DELETED??? WE MUST KNOW OF SIR SEMENUS MAXIMUS, OCTOPUS MASTERMIND —Preceding unsigned comment added by Krispykareem7 (talkcontribs) 03:52, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Vandalized to hell and back[edit]

And fixed. -- (talk) 12:45, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Skip to TOC[edit]

I've placed a {{skiptotalk}} template at the top of this Talk page for those who want to "get right down to it".  .`^) Painediss`cuss (^`.  18:15, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Addition of IPA notice[edit]

I added an IPA notice tablet due to the use of French phonetic symbols.--Soporaeternus (talk) 19:42, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Non-religious bias[edit]

Two basic influences led him to his conversion: sickness and Jansenism

Sickness? This is such an insulting remark to suggest that someone's religious convictions were due to them being sick. I suppose his genius mathematics was also due to his sickness?

This also doesn't make any sense. How can his religious conversion be due to him already being associated with Jansenism? Obviously Jansenism had nothing to do with him becoming religious, even though it shaped his religious thought. He became religious and decided to join the Jansenists. (talk) 22:32, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Catholic Philosopher[edit]

There appears to have been a discussion to remove "catholic philosopher" simply because Pascal was opposed to Jesuits and a staunch member of a group, whose teachings were declared heretical. Of course, the Pope never declared Pascal or the Jansenists heretics, or the teachings behind the group (there is a difference). Furthermore, Pascal wrote a long defense of Catholicism in the Pensees, so there is no question that he was a a Philosopher for Catholicism. You don't have to like the Jesuits to be a Catholic, and in fact, no one order or group of Catholic Priests account for any fraction of Catholic teaching. Thats the principle behind the Catholic Church. Pascal believed in Catholic teaching and philosophized on it; the fact that he was against the Jesuits doesn't mean he was less of a Catholic. (talk) 22:37, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Pascal influence[edit]

There are nothing in infobox about his influence on other philosophers?--Vojvodae please be free to write :) 09:50, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

FA concerns[edit]

This article has some concerning aspects for a FA quality article, namely referencing issues in some places, short paragraphs, some wholly unreferenced parts, short lede/intro that does not conform to WP:LEAD, and could use an image review. I'd recommend working on these issues, or perhaps the best place to address them would be at WP:FAR. If users involved in the article's maintenance do not object, I could identify problem areas regarding referencing in the article, by adding {{fact}} tags. -- Cirt (talk) 17:42, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

death mask[edit]

Maybe put his death mask, as seen on the Death mask page?-- (talk) 20:47, 29 December 2010 (UTC)


about 70% of this article is a complete copy of "The Story of Civilization"...much of it word for word. This is what it takes to be a "Vital" Wikipedia article???????? FA-Class? What a joke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

  • It's not "complete copy" of Durant's work, but nevertheless many sections are plagiarised. I've compared both texts here. Bluszczokrzew (talk) 14:05, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Yikes! Seems pretty blatant to me. This has been there for quite some time andlooks like can be dated back to 2005. See diffs here. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 16:50, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I removed a bunch of text from Bluszczokrzew's page and from what I saw in the Duplication Detector. The electronic file is too large to compare, so I had to put selected text in a .txt file, upload it into the DD and compare that way. There is more to clean and I will work more at it later. For now, I have nominated the article at WP:FAR. I think it will take some work to become featured again. Right now, it is not.--NortyNort (Holla) 03:33, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
This July 2005 version appears to be a good restoration point if need be. It appears much of the text from the source was added by Dbergan in a series of edits afterwards. With that, improvements over the years would be missing and there are still serious FA concerns.--NortyNort (Holla) 04:50, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
OK, I've copied the text from the old version to the top of the current page, as a temporary measure until this is resolved. To have a blank page sitting around for ten days, for such an important figure, is embarrassing. Jowa fan (talk) 06:53, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, that made much of the copied text visible again. I will adjust the copyvio tag so it only covers specific areas.--NortyNort (Holla) 12:15, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Oops. I checked that the July 2005 text didn't suffer from any of the problems pointed out by Bluszczokrzew, but it looks like I accidentally copied the text over from the November version instead. Apologies for any confusion, and thanks for your work in fixing this up. Jowa fan (talk) 13:36, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I believe (and fervently hope!) that I have finished the mopping up here. Please retag if I'm wrong or remove problematic content. :/ I've tried to review both carefully, but the source is (as you are all aware) pretty extensive! --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:34, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Pascal's law and other concerns[edit]

I recently tried to find out some information on Pascal's law, and when I failed to find the information in the article, I came here and when I saw that this was a featured article, I thought it would contain what I was looking for. However, this work of his is only linked from the infobox and the 'legacy' section, and is not explicitly covered in the 'Contributions to the physical sciences' section. From my research elsewhere, it seems that the work in question was 'Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids' (1653), but this is not mentioned in the article. This seems a strange omission for a featured article. This raises concerns in my mind about the comprehensiveness of this article. I've compared this article to the article at the time it was promoted to featured article candidate (in 2005) and I see that there is quite a difference and currently a "Miscellaneous" section that would not pass muster by current standards, and that concerns have also been raised earlier on this talk page. I think this article needs work done on it if it is to stay at featured article standards (I would be happy to help where I can), and I'm going to take the first step of notifying the original nominator of the article about this talk page section I've just posted. Carcharoth (talk) 13:28, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

The reason is that none of us who was writing the article at the time had a physical science background to speak of, so it's pretty short in that area. But obviously the article is also beneath current FA standards in a lot of other areas as well. I'll try to do some cleanup and I can help with references for the philosophy and math, but to actually bring the article up to the current standard would probably require a lot of detail work I don't have the time/interest for... Christopher Parham (talk) 15:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. If I were to make a start on this, which of the currently listed sources would be best to purchase/get from the library? I'm thinking the Adamson book from 1995, but have there been more recent works? Also, I just noticed that that work is in "further reading". None of the currently listed sources appear to be a published biography on the subject, which surprises me, though on looking there don't seem to be that many. I found one by an O'Connell (Blaise Pascal: Reasons of the Heart) from 1997, but most seem to be books about his works, which are needed of course, but I want to start from a biography. Carcharoth (talk) 18:05, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Honestly I don't know of an English language biography, per se, that I would describe as particularly strong. I'm just familiar with the man via his philosophical work. But as in the above section there seem to be bigger problems that need addressing. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:47, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Continental philosopher?[edit]

The article infobox states that Pascal's school was Continental Philosophy, and that he was a precursor to existentialism. I do not think this is accurate, because Continental Philosophy is not generally regarded as having begun until after Kant, and as for the "precursor to existentialism" part, I guess that could be true but it isn't what would immediately come to mind when thinking of Pascal. Matthew Fennell (talk) 16:31, 23 July 2011 (UTC)


File:Blaise Pascal.PNG is used as the portrait here, but indicates it probably isn't of him. Unless that source is wrong, probably need to find a different picture for here and the other articles that use that image.--Nilfanion (talk) 09:46, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

File:Blaise Pascal.PNG Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: Infringing material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:34, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Brush With Death?[edit]

Hi. Where in the section named as the above heading, Brush With Death on the article page, does it actually refer to a 'brush with death'? Having a hallucination or a "divine moment" of connection with the supernatural cannot legitimately be defined as a "Brush with Death". How can this even be described in a serious encyclopedia as a "Brush with Death" without having some actual occurrence with death, unless it is characterized as what 'he believed or perceived to be a Brush with Death"? or actually what he qualified as a "Brush with Death"? This has always seemed to be a popular myth that has been retold in his story but without any further elucidation than is found here.... Just a question... Stevenmitchell (talk) 14:08, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

With the text as it is now, that section header should be removed. However, it appears that he had had an accident in Oct 1654. The description of the accident was deleted from this section during a copy-vio cleanup. I would think the copyrighted document could now be used as a source to summarize the accident. (talk) 16:03, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit request 13:57, 6 April 2013 (UTC)[edit]

In the opening sentence, the words "Christian philosopher" are linked to the two articles, Christian and Philosopher. There is however a specific article about Christian philosophy, which imho should be linked. (As a side argument, WP:LINKSTYLE discourages wikilinking successive words anyway.) -- (talk) 13:57, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Done RudolfRed (talk) 01:02, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Name and Surname[edit]

Saint Blaise, an Armenian bishop who was an Orthodox christian martyr was the origin of Pascal's first name and the surname Pascalis is from Greek through Latin (from the Greek bible); from the word for Easter. These are 'taken' christian names, that were adopted (the surname) by families to show religious devotion. That fact might help. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 20 May 2013 (UTC)


I think it might be relevant to add Nietzsche to the list of whom Pascal influenced. Nietzsche was practically in love with Pascal's philosophy, with one exception: his religiosity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 April 2014[edit]

My login as a Wikipedia editor is years old, but seldom used.

I have long been a fan of the quotation about apologizing for a long letter as was time was too short to write a shorter one. I understood that this was attributed to Pascal, but it is often referenced against Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, or others. Withthe help of a reference librarian, I tracked down the quotation to Pascal's Provincial Letters, and wanted to include this attribution in this article, in the section where the letters are referenced. Specifically, after the mentions of the publication of the letters and the reactions to them I would add the following text:

"It is in the Provincial Letters that Pascal coined his oft-quoted apology for writing a long letter, as he hadn't had time to write a shorter one. From Letter XVI, as translated by Thomas M'Crie: 'Reverend fathers, my letters were not wont either to be so prolix, or to follow so closely on one another. Want of time must plead my excuse for both of these faults. The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.'"

The source from which this was recovered is at

TomTheItinerant (talk) 21:23, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done for now: Why? Also, if you make just four more edits (responding to this request is one), you'll be able to make this change yourself. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 13:47, 27 April 2014 (UTC)


This article was removed from the theologians category, and then restored. I decided to do some digging around, and I found a number of biographical entries mention Pascal as a theologian in the heading or first sentence: [6][7][8] StAnselm (talk) 19:42, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

For the record, there has been a discussion about this question on my user page, this discussion has been settled peacefully by keeping the theologian category. Marcocapelle (talk) 12:18, 21 December 2014 (UTC)