The French Revolution was still more than 40 years away, but Diderot and his co-editor the distinguished mathematician Jean Le Rond d'Alembert managed to gather a circle of enthusiastic writers, scientists and even priests, most of them yet unknown, who were prepared to put together a document of rationalism and faith in the progress of human thought.
The planned Encyclopédie faced problems from its beginnings.
He was educated by Jesuits and entered the University of Paris, which awarded him a master of arts in 1732.
Diderot then took up the study of law and made a living as a clerk.
Ironically its first setback was caused not by the project itself but by an independent publication.
In 1749 Diderot published the Lettre sur les aveugles ("An Essay on Blindness"), in which he developed the idea of teaching the blind to read through the sense of touch.In 1751 he published the Lettre sur les sourds et muets ("Letter on the Deaf and Dumb") and three years later the Pensées sur l'interprétation de la nature ("Thoughts on the Interpretation of Nature"), a discussion on the new experimental basis of science.The completion of the Encyclopédie in 1772 forced Diderot to find other means of financial support.Diderot was the founder and editor of the "Encyclopedie", a novelist, a philosopher and an active proponent of democratic ideals.His "Letter on the Blind" is essential reading for anyone interested in Enlightenment philosophy or eighteenth-century literature.His role as editor of a work of momentous proportions did not stop Diderot from publishing original work himself.He contributed a large number of articles to the Encyclopédie, particularly on the history of philosophy, social theory and aesthetics under the entries Eclectisme ("Eclecticism"), Droit Naturel ("Natural Law") and Beau ("The Beautiful").This is a new reading and translation, the first into English since the eighteenth-century, of Diderot's "Letter on the Blind for Use by the Sighted"."Blindness and Enlightenment" presents a reading and translation of Diderot's "Letter on the Blind for Use by the Sighted" (the first translation into English since the eighteenth-century).; The Man-Born-Blind of Puiseaux; Blind Men and Bonnets; Saunderson; Two: The Blind Leading the Blind Leading the Blind Leading the Blind Leading the Blind...; Molyneux's Man-Born-Blind; A Comic Type; Sextus Empiricus's Man who Sees and Hears Nothing; Montaigne's Gentleman of a Good House, Born Blind; Descartes's Analogy; Gassendi's Man-Born-Blind; La Mothe Le Vayer's Man-Born-Blind; Three: Point of View and Point de Vue; Reflections and Refractions; Morally Blind.Blind Vanity; Optics and Phatics; Blind Metaphysics; See and Tell; Four: Grouping Around in the Light; Imagination and Memory; Touch and Drawing; An English Geometer's Ingenious Expression; Staying in Touch; Felicitous Expressions; Five: A Supplement to Saunderson's Memoirs; An Omission; A Conversation of the Existence of God; An Epicurean Vision; Last Words; Six: Dis/Solving Molyneux's Problem; The Prussian's Girl-Born-Blind; A Painful Operation; Trained Eyes; Seeing the Light; It Depends; Conclusion, or Two Hours Later...; Bibliography; Index; Appendices; I.