Biographers of Diderot have found it difficult to resist the story of his famous last words: ''The first step towards philosophy is incredulity." According to the testimony of his daughter, Mme. de Vandeul, such were the words that her father uttered to a group of friends on the eve of his death as they engaged in a discussion of philosophical issues. Words of a similar nature — "Skepticism is the first step towards truth" — appeared in his first major work, Pensees philosophiques, and thereby provided a biographical symmetry to a life characterized more often by the questions raised than the answers provided.


The first annual Humanities Symposium was held Feb. 28-March 1, 1994. The Humanities Symposium was part of "Viva Humanitas," a yearlong series of programs celebrating the opening of the Jesse Philips Humanities Center in August 1993.



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