The Conversation On The Plurality Of Worlds Analysis

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The Power of Progressivism:A Close Reading of The Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds

At the end of the seventeenth century, the idea of a universe existing beyond earth was inconceivable. Before the modern concept of various planets and intergalactic space travel, people received most of their knowledge through the church. The first novel to express this idea was “Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds” by Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle. The book was aimed at the ordinary person, and became the first science book ever published. The book is composed of a string of casual evening conversations between Fontanelle and a woman named Marquise.The two discuss the copernican system in a moonlit place. Conversations on the Plurality of
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Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle was a poet as well as a philosopher, therefore, his prose is rife with figurative language. To explain concepts to Marquis, Fontenelle uses imagery and analogies in his speech. The author discusses the nature of philosophy, arguing that philosophers overlook what’s in front of them and decide to look beyond what meets the eye.Fontenelle uses a striking analogy to explain the inner workings of nature.The author posits that,“Nature is very much like an opera house” (Fontenelle 11). He continues, stating that, “From where you are at the opera, you don’t see the stages exactly; they’re arranged to give you the most pleasing effects from a distance” (Fontanelle 12). Fontenelle explains in simpler terms, the scientific attitude academics have towards nature. From afar, nature looks pristine and simple. However, a rational conclusion can only be reached through observation and experiment. The author uses an analogy to further explain the skeptic nature of philosophers and scientists. Moreover, the author describes philosophers as “engineers” and he continues stating, “.. what makes it harder for the philosophers is that, in the machinery that nature shows us, the wires are better hidden” ( Fontenelle 12). The author succinctly describes the complex ideas comprising nature and philosophy by a simple analogy that will be readily understood by the average reader. Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle introduces the idea of scientific enquiry to the ordinary person. By using a different perspective, the author explains complex concepts to the masses that were only understood in academic

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