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Word Count: 1,591
Pascal builds his argument in Man and the Universe out of a series of paradoxes seemingly contradictory truths In writing Man and the Universe Pascal reflected his views on what is our place in the world as human beings Pascals writing shows a harmony between mathematical certainty and moral truths in support of his argument In his Pensees or Thoughts Pascal hoped to integrate scientific progress with the notion of humankinds fallen state Many suggest that Pascal is the master of paradoxA paradox is an idea or situation that appears to contradict itself but that is nevertheless true The purpose of a paradox is to provoke fresh thought and draw the readers attention An example of a paradox is the statement Less is more In addressing his point of view of the universe Pascal wrote I will picture to him not only the visible universe but the conceivable immensity of nature in the compass of this abbreviation of an atom Pascal reduces the apparently infinitely great and large to its actual small position Pascal uses this paradox to show the universe and its great magnitude compared to an atom The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word magnitude as greatness in size or extent In mathematics and physics the term magnitude is used to describe the amount or quantity of an object or equation An example of this is the volume of a sphere or the length of a vector In chemistry the atom is the smallest unit of an element This is a paradox because something great in size as the universe is obviously not the size of an atom When Pascal wrote this he did not intend to make it something literal as in showing a comparison between the universe and an atom Rather it was meant to be something figurative In Pascals point of view the world the earth is an atom The element involved in Pascals paradox is the universe itself
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