The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Diderot, Denis (1713–1784)

  • Peter Groenewegen
Reference work entry


Philosophe and editor of the Encyclopédie raisonée (1751–72). Born at Langres he was educated locally by the Jesuits and moved to Paris in 1728 to complete his education at the University of Paris and earn his living as a writer and translator. Diderot is ensured immortal fame for his role in commencing, editing and publishing the famous Encyclopédie, initially with D’Alembert but, after final government prohibition in May 1757, by himself. This task took close to half his lifetime; it was first mooted in 1746 and in 1772 the last volumes of engravings were published. The first volume of text appeared in 1751, the last in 1765; those containing the important economic contributions by Quesnay (1756, 1757) and Turgot (1757) appearing just before its official proscription by the censor. The completion of this task allowed Diderot time for a seven-month visit to Catherine the Great, whom he advised on various matters including economic policy.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Groenewegen
    • 1
  1. 1.