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 third of three volumes.
Table of Contents
Part II: On the Divinity.—Proofs of his Existence—Of his Attributes—Of his Influence over the Happiness of Man. Chapter 7: Of Theism—Of the System of Optimism—Of Final Causes. Chapter 8: Examination of the Advantages which result from Man’s Notions on the Divinity—of their Influence upon Morals—upon Politics—upon Science—upon the Happiness of Nations, and that of Individuals. Chapter 9: Theological Notions cannot be the Basis of Morality.—Comparison between Theological Ethics nad Natural Morality.—Theology prejudicial to the Human Mind. Chapter 10: Man can form no Conclusion from the Ideas which are offered him the Divinity.—Of their want of just Inference—Of the Inutility of his Conduct. Chapter 11: Defence of the Sentiments contained in this Work.—Of impiety.—Do there exist Atheists? Chapter 12: Is what is termed Atheism, compatible with Morality? Chapter 13: Of the motives which lead to what is falsely called Atheism.—Can this system be dangerous?—Can it be embraced by the Illiterate? Chapter 14: A summary of the Code of Nature. A Brief Sketch of the Life and Writings of M de Mirabaud.
Paul Henri Thiery