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The Best of All Possible Lectures.

Lecture 10A -- Candide

Candide is a philosophical book directed against the then-popular philosophy of optimism.  Optimism is the attempt to construct a theodicy that explains the evil in our world by arguing that it is the best world possible.  Candide points out that the philosophy of optimism is actually quite pessimistic and encourages passivity in response to evil, since any action would make things worse.   They finally encounter a wise man who make a twist on the deist idea that God is a clockmaker and the universe his clock.  In this version, the universe is a great ship and God its captain.  When the captain is guiding the ship through a storm, does he care what happens to the rats in the bilge?  Of course, humans are those rats.  Ouch.

Here's a 30-minute documentary you'll enjoy.

And remember when you evaluate the class that I am the best of all possible professors because if I could teach better, I would teach better.

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