Talk:The Age of Reason

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Featured article The Age of Reason is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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June 16, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
July 14, 2007 Peer review Reviewed
October 14, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Natural law[edit]

This ties in with problems in the articles Natural Law and Physical law. To an educated individual of the late 18th Century, especially one versed in the ideas of the Enlightenment, the term Natural Law would refer to what we call today the Laws of Physics, rather than referring to modes of human behavior as rooted in the natural world. Meanings of phrases and words shift over time, and that needs to be made clear when discussing the viewpoints of deists and what they speak of when they use the term "natural law." PJtP (talk) 03:07, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

This isn't a book?[edit]

The Rights of Man is found at book stores with 256 pages. Common Sense can be found with 56 pages. I don't know exactly where the division between "book" and "pamphlet" lies, but The Age of Reason is found with 220 pages, so it's either a book or a very thick pamphlet. I think this should be altered and called a "book", don't you? – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 00:59, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

It was published in three parts and referred to as a pamphlet at the time. Hence, "pamphlet". Wadewitz (talk) 18:52, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Were all three parts together called a pamphlet? or were each of the parts individually called a pamphlet, so that when all three are combined they are large enough to be called a book? (The irony of all this for me is that my library has a small, thin, hardcover "book" on the shelf titled Common Sense by Thomas Paine. It was a pamphlet back in the 18th century, and now it's a book – a very thin, hardcover book.) – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 01:31, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
All three parts separately were called a pamphlet and the larger work together was also called a pamphlet. Pamphlets in the 18th century were much longer - often in the hundreds of pages. Wadewitz (talk) 06:50, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
So it remains that this work has only 36 fewer pages than The Rights of Man, which is called a book; shall we continue to refer to The Age of Reason as a pamphlet? Does that not misguide readers and make them think that this work is so much smaller and shorter than it really is?
Do you know of any sources that refer to this work in its entirety as a pamphlet? – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 19:41, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Those are not 18th-century sources, nor are those scholarly sources. If you look at the sources used in this article, they are peer-reviewed scholarly sources. Most follow the 18th-century convention of referring to it as a pamphlet. (And it is obviously not an "ebook" since it could not have been published in an electronic format first.) Wadewitz (talk) 17:44, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
In the language of the time it may have been described as a pamphlet, but at more than 100 pages long, today people would call it a book, and we write in the language of today. Should we hold a RfC, asking something like: "Should we describe this work as a pamphlet, or a book published in three parts?" Darx9url (talk) 15:42, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
I think "we write in the language of today" is the point. In modern English it's a book. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 23:42, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


"today" or yesterday, one should lookup the definition of "pamphlet" before making pronouncements. The point is that the material wasn't bound and printed as a book. The content is irrelevant to the definition, and calling it a book misrepresents the way it was printed and distributed. TEDickey (talk) 00:11, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
It might be a little more complicated since, as I wrote above, even Common Sense can now be found in libraries as a hardbound "book", a very small, hardbound book. And yet we still call it a "pamphlet" for purposes of its article, nor would, I think, anybody actually challenge that. So it seems that size does count. Face-smile.svg – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 08:41, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
From our article on pamphlet: "A pamphlet is an unbound booklet (that is, without a hard cover or binding). It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths (called a leaflet), or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple book.In order to count as a pamphlet, UNESCO requires a publication (other than a periodical) to have "at least 5 but not more than 48 pages exclusive of the cover pages"; a longer item is a book." Suggest changing the lead to read: "... an influential work written by ..." And, "Originally distributed as unbound phamplets, it was published in three parts in ..." Darx9url (talk) 14:17, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's a good suggestion. – Paine EllsworthCLIMAX! 09:31, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Let me go ahead and change it, and see if anyone objects. Darx9url (talk) 13:45, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
I hope others are okay with it, because I think it is now much better! – Paine  18:33, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

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