43. D’Alembert was the author of several articles concerning Chronology and its relationship to Astronomy in the Encyclopedia, e.g., “Calendar,” vol. II, and “Chronology,” vol. III. Later d’Alembert developed and enriched his conception of the nature and importance of the study of history. He became more and more explicit in his appreciation of the value of its philosophic study for the progress and understanding of the sciences. Also, in his later exposition, history becomes essential for the progress of the “empirical” study of human ethics. In his splendid article “Elements of the Sciences,” Encyclopédie, V, 495–96, he expounds the value of the study of history for the philosophic treatment of the moral universe. The philosopher, he says, regards history as “a collection of moral experiments made on mankind,” which he collects, compares, and observes in order to discover the principles, just as a doctor compares and collects medical observations.


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