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  Classic Texts: Baron Holbach - The System of Nature (1770)
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   Author  Topic: Classic Texts: Baron Holbach - The System of Nature (1770)  (Read 691 times)
David Lucifer

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Classic Texts: Baron Holbach - The System of Nature (1770)
« on: 2003-06-09 10:58:11 »
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In Book Two of "A History of Philosophy" by Frederick Copleston, Volume VI Wolff To Kant, Part I The French Enlightenment, Section I.

".. but the chief statement of a materialist position was the Systeme de la nature ou des lois du monde physique et du monde moral (1770) by the Baron Paul von Holbach (1723-89)... Further, each thing strives to preserve itself in being. And man too is impelled by self-love or self-interest. But this should not be taken as excluding a concern for the welfare of society. For man is a social being, and rational concern for one's own satisfaction and welfare goes hand in hand with concern for the general welfare. D'Holbach was a thorough-going materialist and determinist; but he did not intend to advocate a life of selfishness. As a man, he was known to have a humane and benevolent character. .... The order or system of the world is not the result of a divine plan, but the nature of things and their immanent laws. But d'Holbach was by no means content to profess agnosticism and say that the religious hypothesis, as Hume called it, was unnecessary. In his opinion religion was the enemy of human happiness and progress. In a well-known passage of the second book of the System of Nature, he declares that ignorance and fear created the gods, that fancy, enthusiasm and deceit have adorned or disfigured the pictures formed of them, that weakness worships them, that credulity preserves them, and that tyranny supports belief in them for its own purposes. Belief in God, so far from making men happy, increases their anxiety and fear."

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