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Poem on the Lisbon Disaster
The poem called Poéme sur le désastre de Lisbonne, written by Voltaire in 1755 and published in 1756 deals with the Lisbon earthquake that took place in 1755. This earthquake had a profound impact on the European thinkers of that age. Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant and important theologians of that age have put forward ideas about the possible causes of the earthquake. Philosophers such as Voltaire –and Kant– opposed this idea in the face of the theologians who saw the earthquake as a righteous punishment for the sins of mankind. Voltaire criticizes the understanding of theodicy in this poem written right after the earthquake. However, Voltaire fires his arrows of criticism, especially to Leibniz and Pope’s theological-optimistic viewpoints. In this context, he criticizes the idea of ‘All is well’ or ‘everything that is connected with goodness in God’s great plan’.

Voltaire, Leibniz, evil, theodicy, Lisbon disaster.

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