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Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! The first epistle surveys relations between humans and the universe; the second discusses humans as individuals.
The third addresses the relationship between the individual and society, and the fourth questions the potential of the individual for happiness.
According to his friend and editor, William Warburton, Pope intended to structure the work as follows: The four epistles which had already been published would have comprised the first book.
The second book was to contain another set of epistles, which in contrast to the first book would focus on subjects such as human reason, the practical and impractical aspects of varied arts and sciences, human talent, the use of learning, the science of the world, and wit, together with "a satire against the misapplication" of those same disciplines.