Famous Quotes Explained: « To say prejudice is to say an opinion received without examination because it would not stand on its own, » Discours sur le bonheur, Marquise du Châtelet, 1779.
The quote To say prejudice is to say an opinion received without examination because it would not stand on its own refers to the idea that prejudices are opinions or beliefs that individuals adopt without deep critical thought or examination. This quote can be associated with the Marquise du Châtelet (1706-1749), an 18th-century French intellectual renowned for her commitment to Enlightenment philosophy.
Marquise du Châtelet was a supporter of the philosophical ideas of Voltaire (with whom she had a romantic relationship for fifteen years), who advocated for rationality, critical thinking, and challenging the religious and social prejudices of their time. She contributed to the dissemination of these ideas by translating Newton’s works into French and writing her own work, Discours sur le bonheur (1779).
The quote highlights the importance of critically examining opinions and beliefs, as opposed to passively accepting prejudices. Marquise du Châtelet, through her promotion of Enlightenment ideas, would have certainly endorsed this notion, encouraging individuals to think for themselves and question received beliefs without a solid foundation.
Prejudice is propagated by tradition, not by reason. That’s why it’s received. Prejudice absolves itself of doubt; it is taken as self-evident. Prejudice, therefore, cannot withstand examination because it is not based on any argument or logic.
This quote addresses a fundamental theme of Enlightenment philosophy: the role of critical thinking in shaping opinions and the importance of education and reflection in combating prejudices.
To say prejudice is to say an opinion received without examination because it would not stand on its own
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