This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jaucourt on Prejudice

According to Jaucourt, in his entry on Prejudice, he believes that prejudice is a vice that preys on people, especially women, children, and old men. It is brought about by superstition, passion, simplicity, narrowminded, or as Jaucourt reports, a change in the humors, being a bodily change.
He writes of four different kinds of prejudices, including universal, personal, public, and school.
Universal prejudices are ones that are “hereditary in human beings” (Encyclopedia 2). These come from old superstitions and from ignoring negative evidences. He also describes these prejudices in the way of science, such as how scientists interpret that all orbits are perfect circles; there are no extremes, no variances.
Personal prejudices, as he describes, are the prejudices employed by individual people. These are produced by the environment the person is brought up in. Whatever a man is used to, he will interpret as true.
Public prejudices are created through customs and traditions of a people. Different cultures believe that their fashion, sacraments, and religions are right; therefore, all others have to be wrong. Also, different cultures revere certain words to mean one thing, while it would mean something unlike it in another.
Finally, school prejudices are based on impossibilities in science. Jaucourt gives the example of perpetual motion and squaring a circle.
Jaucourt’s answer to ridding oneself of prejudice is to simply “approach nature with pure eyes and uncorrupted sentiments” (Encyclopedia 5). He asks the reader to start anew every day with an open eye and heart, taking in everything for what it’s worth, not as it is thought to be worth.


Blogger BJ Baughcum said...

You did a great job of approaching the questions asked about the Enclycopedia, however, had I not read the article for myself; I would not have fully understood the operation of prejudice. Great job of putting the context into your own words.

9:17 PM  

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