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Baron D'Holbach Essay

  • Submitted by: xokerriannxo
  • on January 27, 2013
  • Category: History
  • Length: 544 words

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Below is an essay on "Baron D'Holbach" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Paul Henri Thiry, Baron D'Holbach was a German-born French man of leisure, known as a conversationalist, host, scholar, secular moralist, and philosopher. He was celebrated for his freely spoken views on atheism, determinism, and materialism and for his contributions to Diderot's Encyclopédie. He was actually the first to openly write about atheism. He wrote several pieces that argued against religion and criticized Christianity. He lived in Paris where he opened Salons. Salons were where people gathered to discuss things or in Holbach’s way to make contributions to the Encyclopédie.
He read scientific works of his era, and made the claim that the deterministic nature of the universe extended to humans, hence there is no free will. He also argued for the identity of the human mind with the physical brain. He believed human interest as happiness and self-preservation in the System of Nature and Common Sense. He also said an individual could not achieve self-preservation or happiness without the cooperation of others. A just society involved two types of social contracts. The first occurred naturally among individuals, who united in order to secure their personal safety, ownership of property, and their means of supporting life. The second was a formal contract between society and sovereign power, which Holbach generally described as a king restricted and advised by a body of elected representatives. He believed the purpose of a government was to foster social cooperation and promote conditions that would ensure the happiness of its people. The first contract, among society, could never be broken, but the second could. If a government failed to secure the welfare of its subjects by protecting their property and basic freedoms, society had a right to revolt as a natural consequence of its desire for self-preservation. Though Holbach defended the right of society to revolt when a government failed to secure the well-being of its members, he did not support anarchy and...

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