This word [encyclopedia] means «chain of knowledge». The purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe and show it to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy. It is necessary to collect all human knowledge, criticise religious and political fanaticism and defend human reason and freedom of the spirit. – Denis Diderot, 1751

The Scientific Revolution produced a great amount of knowledge and technological and scientific advances that deserved to be disseminated and explained publicly. The enormous work involved in collecting all the knowledge of the human being required a team of 140 writers, but only had two directors: Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and Jean le Rond d’Alembert (1717-1783). These two illustrated Frenchmen had the idea of ​​creating the greatest work ever written: an encyclopedia that compiled everything that the human being knew.

The way to organize all that knowledge was based on a complex structure: three large blocks of content (Memory, Reason and Imagination) distributed information about history, work, nature, astronomy (these topics were included in the Memory section), literature, theater, painting (within the Imagination block), philosophy, mathematics, ethics, medicine and geometry (topics included in the main block, that of Reason). Although it was initially banned by Louis XV and the Catholic Church, the work continued to be published in printers in other countries.

The Encyclopedia has several characteristics. His critical spirit is observed in the defense made by the collaborators of the political and economic reforms (they defend the parliamentary monarchy over the absolute monarchy), the bourgeois spirit stems from the very roots of the work, devised and written by this social class, the pedagogical spirit is demonstrated with the popularizing tone of the articles, the scientific spirit is clear with the large number of disciplines and sciences addressed and the philosophical spirit is observed through the doses of morals and ethics that run through all his books.