Contes Philosophiques Dissertation Proposal Example

The Fables of Reason: A Study of Voltaire's Contes Philosophiques

Roger Pearson

Abstract

Three hundred years after his birth in 1694, this is the first comprehensive study of Voltaire's Contes Philosophiques: the philosophical tales for which he is now best remembered and which include the masterpiece Candide. This book situates each of the 26 stories in its historical and intellectual context and offers new readings and approaches in the light of modern critical thinking. It rejects the traditional view that Voltaire's Contes were the private expression of his philosophical perplexity, written merely in the margins of his historiography and his campaigns against the Establishment ... More

Three hundred years after his birth in 1694, this is the first comprehensive study of Voltaire's Contes Philosophiques: the philosophical tales for which he is now best remembered and which include the masterpiece Candide. This book situates each of the 26 stories in its historical and intellectual context and offers new readings and approaches in the light of modern critical thinking. It rejects the traditional view that Voltaire's Contes were the private expression of his philosophical perplexity, written merely in the margins of his historiography and his campaigns against the Establishment. Arguing that narrative is Voltaire's essential mode of thought, the book stresses the role of the reader and shows how the Contes were designed less to communicate a set of truths than to encourage independence of mind. The author has written a guide to the ‘fables of reason’ with which Voltaire undermined – and continues to undermine – the religious, philosophical, and economic ‘fables’ by which other thinkers have tried to explain and direct human experience.

Keywords: Voltaire, Contes Philosophiques, Candide, historiography, Establishment, narrative, religion, economy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1993Print ISBN-13: 9780198158806
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198158806.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Roger Pearson, author
The Queen's College, Oxford
Author Webpage

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Remember to do the following when writing your Methodology:

  • explain what methods you intend to use when researching and developing your report.
  • use a descriptive writing approach. It is important to explain what research methods you used to collect your info.
  • Do not include your questionnaires, interview transcripts, etc. -these go in the dissertation’s appendices.
  • Discuss with your project supervisor the extent and level of detail required; original research will obviously require a more detailed description than a project based solely on secondary research.

Example of a methodology statement

The following sample statements are intended to give a flavour of the approach one could take but they are not to be assumed to represent a complete methodology.

Literature survey
Secondary data will be reviewed initially through the university library using a range of information sources such as the OPAC system, academic and commercial abstracts, bibliographic databases, and Internet search engines.
To aid the search, a table of key terms will be constructed and the sources located will be correlated with this. A secondary cross-reference table will be developed so that data can be viewed from different perspectives.

Data collection and sampling
To test current practice against the historical record an on-line survey will be conducted to gather primary source data from companies currently engaged in the export of goods related to heavy engineering projects.
The survey will collect quantitative data on the range of goods requiring an end-user licence. A systematic yet random sample of companies will be drawn from members of the British Business Register.

Data analysis
As the number of companies, engaged in the defined activity, has yet to be established the data analysis method has not yet been decided. However, it is anticipated that a commercial spreadsheet package such as MS Excel would be suitable, although more sophisticated analysis software such as SPSS is available within the university’s IT centre should this be required.

Remember:

If someone else chooses to carry out the same or a very similar type of study, they should be able to understand and copy your methods from your descriptions.

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