This essay features some excerpts from and an overview of three handwritten notebooks which are kept in the Mario Dal Pra Reference Fund in the Library of the Philosophy Faculty at the State University of Milan. The notebooks comprise the lecture course Pascal with regard to the Scientific Movement and the Political and Religious Crisis in French Absolutism, which was delivered by Professor Mario Dal Pra in the 1977-1978 academic year. The lectures deal with the key features of Pascal’s thought with respect to the Jansenism of Port Royal and the ensuing doctrinal controversy with the Jesuits, in addition to the social conflicts mainly between noblesse de robe and intendants in 17th-century France. Dal Pra’s notebooks clearly show his great interest in Pascal’s innovative epistemological approach to scientific matters, in particular as regards physics. Moreover, they stress the importance of the religious perspective as a means of disentangling the "intricacies" of the French thinker’s thought: "old in its theological aspect" and "modern in its scientific aspect", a "clash" between science and religion or an "invincible rational trend".
Keywords: Coeur, reason, science, religion, empiricism, Jansenism, noblesse de robe