Voltaire Candide

Topics: Candide, Causality, Free will Pages: 2 (747 words) Published: October 11, 2012
Candide by Voltaire is a satire which criticizes optimism “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds" through the hardships and adventures of a young man named Candide. Voltaire attacks this view and argues that sufferings and horrific events in the world cannot simply be explained with “all is well” and “for the best”. While Voltaire makes his main characters discuss determinism and free will throughout the book; he rises very important question “What if their answers lies in society rather than philosophical speculations? We must cultivate our own garden! According to Voltaire, the view of determinism is that everything happens as a result of prior events and free will that can only be possible within the realm of cause and effect. Candide’s tutor” Pangloss” weakly attempts to prove that everything made to serve an end, everything necessarily for the best end: “noses were formed to support spectacles therefore we have spectacles”, or, “If Columbus had not contracted the disease; we would have neither chocolate nor cochineal.” Pangloss’s view in the whole book is riddled with erroneous misinterpretations of cause and effect; such as during their voyage with Anabaptist, when Pangloss was explaining how all things are arranged for the best outcome, Anabaptist counters with “for men are not born wolves, but they have become one” shows his view on free will. The absurdity of “cause and effect” is shown yet again when Anabaptist drowns and Pangloss declares that “Lisbon harbor was built so that he should drown one day”. Another discussion of “all is well” occurs when Pangloss has a conversation with the black man; When Pangloss says everything happens for necessity; black man questions his belief responding with Free Will. In response, Pangloss answers, “free will coexists with absolute necessity and ultimate predetermined will”. Here Pangloss view raise very important question; how can one be responsible for one’s actions if...
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