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La Ilustración ante el Sufrimiento y las Catástrofes: El terramoto de Lisboa de 1755 en la polémica entre Jean-Jacques Rousseau y Voltaire

Alicia Villar Ezcurra
Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
T. 61, Fasc. 1, Espaço - Tempo - Evolução: Albert Einstein e Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Jan. - Mar., 2005), pp. 281-306
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40338177
Page Count: 26
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La Ilustración ante el Sufrimiento y las Catástrofes: El terramoto de Lisboa de 1755 en la polémica entre Jean-Jacques Rousseau y Voltaire
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Abstract

As imagens do maremoto do dia 26 de Dezembro de 2004 fazem-nos necessariamente perguntar: que podemos nós fazer perante catástrofes de tais dimensões? Como é possível tanto sofrimento? Para os filósofos do Iluminismo, o terramoto que assolou a cidade de Lisboa há 250 anos, no dia 1 de Novembro de 1755, foi também ocasião para reflectir sobre a condição humana e aprofundar a crença num Deus Omnipotente e Providente. Cassirer assinalou que a polémica mantida entre Rousseau e Voltaire contribuiu de forma decisiva para a secularização do problema do mal. Voltaire no seu poema "Sobre o desastre de Lisboa" insistiu, tal como Job, na queixa e no protesto, no escândalo puro e duro perante a radicalidade do problema do mal, o qual, de forma alguma, o racionalismo leibniziano não alcançava compreender. Longe do optimismo que ele próprio tinha mantido noutros momentos, Voltaire adoptou um tom trágico por ele classificado de "paciente" diante das coisas que não podemos alterar. Por seu lado, Rousseau, o qual no dia 18 de Agosto de 1756 escreveu uma longa carta a Voltaire, quis sempre manter viva, apesar de tudo, a sua crença na Providência e extremou as res-ponsabilidades humanas que contribuem para acrescentar os efeitos das catástrofes. A opção de Rousseau foi deixar maior espaço para a esperança, tanto na vida futura, como nas possibilidades de a praxis humana construir um futuro melhor. Por ocasião do Terramoto de Lisboa, os dois filósofos viram-se obrigados a aprofundar as suas crenças e esforçaram-se por compreender a negatividade de uma realidade em que urgia converter a compaixão e os sentimentos humanitários naquilo a que hoje danamos o nome de solidariedade. /// The powerful images of the tsunami of the 26 th December 2004 make us raise the question: What can we do in the presence of disasters of such apocalyptic dimension? How is such a great suffering possible? For the philosophers of the Enlightenment, the earthquake that destroyed the city of Lisbon 250 years ago, on the 1 st of November 1755, was also occasion for a reflection on the human condition and for a deepening of the belief in a God that is omnipotent and provident. Cassirer noted that the polemics maintained between Rousseau and Voltaire was a major contribution for the secularization of the problem of evil. In his poem "On the disaster of Lisbon", Voltaire insisted, as another Job, in the complain and in the protest, in the scandal before the radicalism of the problem of evil, which the leibnizian rationalism was totally unable to understand. Far from the optimism that Voltaire himself had previously defended, he adopts now a tragic tone which he considered a manifestation of patience before the things which we are unable to change. On his part, Rousseau, who wrote a long letter to Voltaire on August 18th, 1756, wanted to preserve, regardless of all the objections, his belief in Providence and insisted on the role played by human responsibility in the worsening of the effects caused by the natural catastrophes. Rousseau wanted to leave greater room for hope, being it in future life as well as in the possibilities of the human praxis in order to build a better future for humankind. On the occasion of the Lisbon Earthquake, the two philosophers saw themselves obliged to a deepening of their mutual beliefs and to put up an effort in order to give account of a reality in which the greatest urgency was to convert compassion and the human feelings in a reality to which we would today give the name of solidarity.

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