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Riassunto: A leading figure of the French Enlightenment, Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach (1723-1789), was an acquaintance of Diderot, Rousseau, and David Hume, among others, and a prolific contributor of scientific articles to Diderot’s famous Encyclopédie. A man not only of considerable wealth and influence, but great generosity, he was known among friends as the "maitre d’hotel of philosophy" because he so often entertained noted philosophers and intellectuals of the day at his home. Nonetheless, when he published his radical views on religion, he felt constrained to use pseudonyms. Advocating a philosophy of atheistic materialism, he harshly lambasted all religious interpretations of life as rank superstition, taking special aim at the Christian worldview of his day.
This work, originally published in 1772, was intended as a popular digest of the more elaborately developed philosophy presented by Holbach in his magnum opus, Système de la nature (The System of Nature, 1770). In 206 very brief chapters, Holbach systematically presents the atheistic challenge to religion, critiquing point by point every contention of religion from the nature of God to the existence of the soul, belief in miracles, heaven and hell, the divine right of kings, the role of the priesthood, and many other points of dogma and tradition.
Though the extreme materialism and determinism of his philosophy was disturbing to even some of his colleagues (Voltaire accused Holbach of "snatching consolation and hope" from humanity), Holbach’s work remained influential after his death and seems in many respects a forerunner of much contemporary philosophy.
About the Author: Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach, was born in December 1723, in Edesheim, Rhine Palatinate but was raised in Paris by his uncle Franciscus Adam d'Holbach. Paul Henri attended the University of Leyden, Holland, from 1744 till about 1749. In that year he married his cousin Basile-Genevieve d'Aine. Around 1754 his uncle Franciscus and his father-in-law both died, leaving Paul Henri the barony of d'Holbach and a large fortune.
D'Holbach used his wealth to establish a coterie in Paris for which he became famous. This group included noted intellectuals of the day such as Denis Diderot, Claude-Adrien Helvetius, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, Edward Gibbon, David Hume, and Adam Smith, as well as French nobles and ambassadors from European countries.
D'Holbach contributed articles on chemistry and allied scientific topics to Diderot's ENCYCLOPEDIE. A vigorous opponent of Christianity, he escaped public and political ridicule by publishing his critical views using the names of deceased friends or employing pseudonyms. In 1761 he published LE CHRISTIANISME DEVOILE (Christianity Unveiled) using the name of his deceased friend N.A. Boulanger. His most famous book, SYSTEME DE LA NATURE (The System of Nature), published in 1770 under the name of J.B. Mirabaud, derided religion. LE BON-SENS (Good Sense) was published in 1772 under the name of Jean Meslier. D'Holbach's 1773 SYSTEME SOCIAL (Social System) placed morality and politics in a utilitarian framework. THE SYSTEM OF NATURE and GOOD SENSE were condemned by the Paris parliament and publicly burned.
D'Holbach died on June 21, 1789, in Paris.
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Descrizione libro Prometheus Books, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: Very Good. Codice libro della libreria P021591021456
Descrizione libro Prometheus Books, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: Like New. Codice libro della libreria P011591021456