*Blaise Pascal*Thoemmes

**About the author…**

Early in life Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) pursued interests in physics and mathematics. His theory of conic sections and probability theory are well known; nevertheless, his experimental methodology in physics proved just as influential, especially his research in hydrostatics. His correspondence with Fermat helped establish the foundations of probability theory; his correspondence with Leibniz helped establish the foundations of the calculus. As a result of a harrowing accident, Pascal turned his attention to religion and religious philosophy in the latter part of his life. It seems he was driving a four-in-hand when the two leader horses leaped over the parapet of Neuilly bridge. Pascal's life was saved when the traces broke; he took the accident as a sign to abandon his experimental life and turn to God. The remainer of his life, he carried a piece of parchment describing this incident next to his heart. Fortunately, for mathematics, however, he sinned from time to time, especially, when a few years later, he completed his essay on the cycloid.

About the work…Pascal's

Penséesreveals a skepticism with respect to natural theology. Pascal pointed out that the most important things in life cannot be known with certainty; even so we must make choices. His deep mysticism and religious commitment is reflective of Christian existentialism, and Pascal's devotional writing is often compared to Kierkegaard's. ThePensées[1] remained fragmented devotional pieces until definitively edited and organized fifty years ago.

[1] | Blaise Pascal. |