17. D’Alembert probably refers here to the Stoics, although the line might be applied equally well to the doctrine of optimism which came under widespread fire by the philosophes, the most famous attack being Voltaire’s Candide. The next line doubtless refers to the Epicureans, or to the corruptors of the Epicurean ethics. See Montaigne, Essais II, Chap. xii, 469. The same point is made in I, Chap. xiv, 55.

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