philosophes

[ (fee-luh-zawf) ]

A group of radical thinkers and writers in France in the eighteenth century, including Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The philosophes stressed the use of human reason and were especially critical of established religious and political practices in France.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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