Denis Diderot


During the stage of the Enlightenment there were many thinkers who were important for its development. Denis Diderot was one of the participants in the famous Encyclopedia , one of the most recognized works of this period, which contained in his writings a large part of the knowledge that had originated during the 18th century and that had been created with the objective of power. to illuminate with reason the steps that society had to follow in order to advance into the future .


Personal information

  • When was born: 10/05/1713
  • Where he was born: Langres, France
  • When he died: 07/31/1784
  • Where he died: Paris, France

Who was Denis Diderot?

Denis Diderot was a renowned and prominent French-born philosopher and writer who took part in the making of the first Encyclopaedia , a work of illustration and an extremely important piece of knowledge related to modern times.

  • Denis Diderot Biography
  • Thought
  • Denis Diderot theories
  • Contributions from Denis Diderot
  • Importance
  • Plays
  • Denis Diderot quotes

Denis Diderot Biography

Denis Diderot was born in 1713 in the city of Langres , Champagne, France , one day 5 October of the year 1713 . His father was Didier Diderot and his mother Angélique Vigneron. He carried out a series of studies with the Jesuits because his idea was to become a priest. In 1728 he moved to Paris to continue his studies and studied arts at a famous Parisian university. In this place he worked as a teacher of Latin, Greek and mathematics.

Some time later he met Antoninette Champion, a seamstress with whom he fell in love and with whom he married a few years later against the will of his father who tried to hide him in a convent to prevent him from marrying.

In 1745 he had an affair with Madame de Puisieux , one of his first lovers, and finally he was in love with Sophie Volland . When he was 60 years old, he worked with the court of St. Petersburg where he served as a counselor to the tsarina. He died in Paris , France due to a series of gastrointestinal problems, on July 31, 1784. 


Denis Diderot’s thinking was mainly critical , sensational , empiricist and deistic . He was in charge of adopting the current of materialism as his system because he agreed with the results of science and believed that all the matter in the universe had sensitivity. For him, the soul and consciousness were also organized matter that evolved to evolve to atheism .

In his way of thinking, he completely denied human freedom and gave greater importance to the power of instinct in order to protect the freedoms that he had as a human being within a community.

Due to his way of thinking, the aristocracy felt threats and risks because he was in charge of promoting a series of concepts related to tolerance of a religious nature , with freedom of thought , the importance of science and industry and, therefore, their claims that ordinary people had to be seen as the primary target of a government .

Denis Diderot theories

There were several theories developed by Denis Diderot and they were based mainly on spontaneity , naturalism and ideas expressed through color. He also established in one of his theories that education should be developed through the curiosity and interests of the student instead of focusing solely on knowledge.

Regarding the work, he thought about the theory of the progression of biological development which could occur through different stages, it is quite similar to the theory of natural selection and showed with it the way to teach blind people to read through the use of touch.

Contributions from Denis Diderot

Among the main contributions of Denis Diderot it can be mentioned that he was in charge of supervising the writing of great works related to culture, such as La Célebre Enciclopedia . He was a thinker who helped lay the foundations of what would later become known as the bourgeois drama within the theater and was in charge of revolutionizing the novel in an important way along with the comedian dialogue .


Denis Diderot played a very important role mainly due to his participation in the creation of The Encyclopedia , where all the knowledge that had emerged throughout the 18th century was captured . He was a man who also influenced events of great importance such as the French Revolution . He is also considered the pioneer of aesthetic criticism and exerted a great influence on many of the thinkers who emerged during the Enlightenment in Europe .


Among the main works written by Denis Diderot the following are mentioned:

  • Philosophical thoughts : in them he makes a statement about naturalistic deism . It is considered one of the most emblematic and influential works of the entire Enlightenment period. In it, he made known the need for a type of reconciliation with feelings in order to achieve harmony.
  • Letter on the Blind for the use of those who can see : a work full of intellectual debauchery and agnostic theses that led to his imprisonment.
  • Thoughts on the interpretation of nature : in this work, gave special importance and superiority to the philosophy of such experimental and put aside the rationalism Cartesian.
  • The religious : also known as Memoirs of a Nun, it was a novel that included a type of practical joke towards the Marquis de Croismare. They were a series of letters in which a nun, Suzanne, begs the marquis to help her so that she can renounce her vows as she describes life in the convent as something untenable and for being in that place against her will.
  • The encyclopedie : this work was the means with which Diderot managed to introduce himself to the fine arts and to different areas of learning . It was a compendium that included all the knowledge of a theoretical nature that was available to men and was also based on a type of practical reference for working people. This work is considered a key aspect in the process and the arrival of the Enlightenment .

Denis Diderot quotes

Some of his most recognized phrases were the following:

  • The man can only be free when the last king is hanged with the guts of the last priest.
  • We swallow a little the lie that adults us and we drink little by little the truth that makes our lives bitter.
  • The madmen who are most dangerous are those who have been created by religion .
  • He who talks about the defects of others, with others will also talk about his own.
  • From fanaticism to barbarism there is only one step.
  • Caution must be exercised with the man who talks about the order of things. Putting things in order always means that you want to put things under control.
  • The indifference makes wise while callousness creates monsters.

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