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Voltaire's Enlightening Essays: Download the Philosophical Dictionary in PDF for Free

Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire: A Free PDF Download

If you are interested in philosophy, history, or literature, you might have heard of Voltaire, one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment era. Voltaire was a prolific writer who produced works in various genres, such as poetry, drama, fiction, and essays. One of his most famous works is the Philosophical Dictionary, a collection of articles on various topics related to religion, ethics, politics, science, and culture. In this article, we will tell you more about Voltaire and his Philosophical Dictionary, and how you can download it for free in PDF format.

philosophical dictionary voltaire pdf download



Who was Voltaire and why did he write the Philosophical Dictionary?

Voltaire was the pen name of François-Marie Arouet, a French philosopher, writer, and critic who lived from 1694 to 1778. He was born into a wealthy family in Paris, but he was not satisfied with the social and political conditions of his time. He challenged the authority of the church and the state, and advocated for freedom of thought, expression, and religion. He also defended human rights, tolerance, and justice against oppression and tyranny.

Voltaire wrote the Philosophical Dictionary between 1764 and 1772, as a response to the censorship and persecution he faced for his views. He wanted to create a comprehensive and accessible reference work that would expose the errors and prejudices of his contemporaries, and promote rationality and enlightenment. He also wanted to entertain and educate his readers with his witty and sarcastic style.

What is the Philosophical Dictionary and what topics does it cover?

The Philosophical Dictionary is not a dictionary in the conventional sense. It is not arranged alphabetically, nor does it provide definitions or explanations of terms. Rather, it is a collection of short essays on various subjects that Voltaire considered important or controversial. The topics range from abstract concepts like God, soul, liberty, and justice, to concrete phenomena like animals, plants, diseases, and arts. The essays are often based on historical examples, anecdotes, or personal opinions.

The Philosophical Dictionary reflects Voltaire's eclectic and critical approach to philosophy. He does not adhere to any specific school or system of thought, but draws from different sources and perspectives. He criticizes dogmatism, superstition, fanaticism, and intolerance in religion and politics. He praises reason, science, progress, and humanism in ethics and culture. He also expresses his admiration for some of the great thinkers of his time, such as Newton, Locke, and Montesquieu.

Why is the Philosophical Dictionary still relevant today?

The Philosophical Dictionary is still relevant today because it addresses some of the fundamental questions and issues that concern humanity. It challenges us to think critically and independently, and to question the authority and validity of our beliefs and values. It also encourages us to appreciate the diversity and complexity of human experience, and to respect the rights and dignity of others. It also offers us a glimpse into the intellectual and cultural history of the Enlightenment, and its impact on modern society.

How to download the Philosophical Dictionary for free in PDF format

If you want to read the Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire, you have several options to download it for free in PDF format. Here are two of them:

Option 1: Use an online converter

An online converter is a website that allows you to convert different types of files, such as documents, images, videos, and audio, from one format to another. You can use an online converter to convert the Philosophical Dictionary from its original format (such as EPUB, MOBI, or TXT) to PDF. Here are the steps to do so:

Step 1: Find a reliable online converter

There are many online converters available on the internet, but not all of them are trustworthy or efficient. Some of them may contain malware, ads, or viruses that can harm your device or compromise your privacy. Some of them may also have limitations on the file size, quality, or speed of conversion. Therefore, you should do some research and find a reliable online converter that suits your needs. Some examples of reputable online converters are Zamzar, Online-Convert, and Convertio.

Step 2: Upload the file or enter the URL of the Philosophical Dictionary

Once you have chosen an online converter, you need to upload the file or enter the URL of the Philosophical Dictionary that you want to convert. You can find the file or URL from various sources, such as online libraries, archives, or repositories. For example, you can find a free EPUB version of the Philosophical Dictionary at Project Gutenberg ( You can either download the file to your device and then upload it to the online converter, or copy and paste the URL directly into the online converter.

Step 3: Choose PDF as the output format and click convert

After uploading the file or entering the URL, you need to choose PDF as the output format for your conversion. You may also have some options to customize your conversion settings, such as adjusting the page size, orientation, margin, or resolution. When you are ready, click on the convert button and wait for a few seconds or minutes until the conversion is completed.

Step 4: Download the converted file to your device

When the conversion is done, you will see a link or a button to download the converted file to your device. You can either save it in your preferred location or open it with your default PDF reader. You can also share it with others via email or social media.

Option 2: Use a free ebook reader app

An ebook reader app is a software application that allows you to read ebooks on your device. You can use an ebook reader app to download and read the Philosophical Dictionary in its original format (such as EPUB, MOBI, or TXT), and then export or save it as a PDF file. Here are the steps to do so:

Step 1: Download and install a free ebook reader app on your device

There are many free ebook reader apps available for different devices and platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc. Some of them are Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, Kobo, Nook, etc. You can download and install any of them from their official websites or app stores. Make sure that the app supports the format of the Philosophical Dictionary that you want to read.

Step 2: Search for the Philosophical Dictionary in the app's library or online store

Step 3: Download the ebook to your device and open it with the app

After finding the Philosophical Dictionary in the app's library or online store, you need to download it to your device and open it with the app. You may need to create an account or sign in with your existing account to access the ebook. You may also need to have an internet connection or a Wi-Fi network to download the ebook.

Step 4: Use the app's features to export or save the ebook as a PDF file

When you have opened the ebook with the app, you can use its features to export or save it as a PDF file. Different apps may have different ways to do this, but usually you can find an option to share, print, or export the ebook in the app's menu or toolbar. You can then choose PDF as the format and save it to your device or send it to another app or device.


The Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire is a classic work of philosophy that offers a wealth of insights and arguments on various topics related to religion, ethics, politics, science, and culture. It is also a fun and engaging read that showcases Voltaire's wit and style. If you want to download it for free in PDF format, you can use either an online converter or a free ebook reader app. Both methods are easy and convenient, and you can enjoy reading the Philosophical Dictionary on any device.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire and how to download it for free in PDF format:

  • Is the Philosophical Dictionary a complete work?

No, the Philosophical Dictionary is not a complete work. Voltaire did not intend to write a systematic or comprehensive treatise on philosophy. He wrote the essays in different times and places, and he revised and added new ones over the years. The first edition of the Philosophical Dictionary was published in 1764 with 73 articles. The final edition of 1772 had 118 articles. However, there are still some topics that Voltaire did not cover or address in depth.

  • Is the Philosophical Dictionary a reliable source of information?

The Philosophical Dictionary is not a reliable source of information in the sense that it does not provide accurate or objective facts or data. Voltaire often used exaggeration, irony, satire, and polemic to make his points. He also relied on his own knowledge and experience, which may have been limited or biased by his personal views and interests. Therefore, you should not take everything he says at face value, but rather as an expression of his opinion or perspective.

  • Is the Philosophical Dictionary a difficult read?

The Philosophical Dictionary is not a difficult read in terms of language or style. Voltaire wrote in a clear and simple French that was accessible to a wide audience. He also used humor and anecdotes to make his essays more lively and enjoyable. However, the Philosophical Dictionary may be challenging in terms of content and context. Voltaire discussed many complex and controversial issues that require some background knowledge and critical thinking. He also referred to many historical and cultural events and figures that may not be familiar to modern readers.

  • Is there an English translation of the Philosophical Dictionary?

Yes, there are several English translations of the Philosophical Dictionary. The first one was published in 1765 by John Fletcher under the title A Philosophical Dictionary. The most recent one was published in 2009 by Hackett Publishing Company under the title The Portable Voltaire: The Philosophical Dictionary. It was translated by Theodore Besterman and edited by Ben Ray Redman.

  • Is there an audio version of the Philosophical Dictionary?

Yes, there are some audio versions of the Philosophical Dictionary. You can find them on various websites or platforms that offer free or paid audiobooks, such as LibriVox, Audible, or Spotify. You can also find some podcasts or videos that feature readings or discussions of the Philosophical Dictionary, such as The Voltaire Foundation Podcast or The Philosophical Dictionary YouTube Channel.


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