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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DA053-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 18, 2022, from

Article Summary

The term ‘libertin’ was first used in France in the late sixteenth century as a term of abuse directed against alleged free-thinkers and atheists who were linked with radical Italian philosophers of the previous century. It subsequently came to be associated with a sceptical literary tradition and a group of scholars, philosophers and antiquarians who discreetly ensured the circulation of such doctrines as Epicureanism, Pyrrhonian scepticism, mechanical philosophy, Baconian empiricism and the ‘new’ astronomy. After the disappearance of this group in the middle years of the century, the term came to connote only debauchery and irreverence.

Citing this article:
MacLean, Ian. Libertins, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DA053-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2022 Routledge.

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