Originally published in 1984. Paul Henri Thiery, Baron d'Holbach (1723-1789), was the center of the radical wing of the philosophers. Holbach wrote, translated, edited, and issued a stream of books and pamphlets, often under other names, that has made him the despair of bibliographers but has connected his name, by innuendo, gossip, and association, with most of what was written in defeense of atheistic materialism in late eighteenth-century France.
Holbach is best known for The System of Nature (1770) and deservedly, since it is a clear exposition of his main ideas. His initial position determines all the rest of his argument: 'There is not, there can be nothing out of that Nature which includes all beings.' Conceiving of nature as strictly limited to matter and motion, both of which have always existed, he flatly denies that there is any such thing as spirit or supernatural.
This is the second of three volumes.
Part I (contd): Laws of Nature.—Of man.—The faculties of the soul.—Doctrine of immortality.—On happiness. Chapter 15: Of man’s true interest, or of the ideas he forms to himself of happiness.—Man cannot be happy without virtue. Chapter 16: The errors of man.—Upon what constitutes happiness.—The true source of his evils.—Remedies that may be applied. Chapter 17: Those ideas which are true, or founded upon Nature, are the only remedies for the evil of man.—Recapitulation.—Conclusion of the First Part. Part II: On the Divinity.—Proofs of his existence.—Of his attributes.—Of his influence over the happiness of man. Chapter 1: The origin of man’s ideas upon the Divinity. Chapter 2: Of mythology.—Of theology. Chapter 3: Of the confused and contradictory ideas of theology. Chapter 4: Examination of the proofs of the existence of the Divinity, as given by Clarke. Chapter 5: Examination of the proofs offered by Descartes, Male-Branche, Newton. Chapter 6: Of Pantheism; or of the natural ideas of the Divinity.
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