Paul-Henri Thiry

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Portrait of Paul-Henri Thiry

Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723–89) was a French philosopher during the Enlightenment. He was an author, and one of the Encyclopedists (French Encyclopédie) who advocated naturalistic and materialistic ideas.[1]

His most well known work was Système de la nature (The System of Nature) published in 1770, which was first published under the name of Jean-Baptiste de Mirabaud (a former secretary of the Académie française who had died about ten years previously).

Thiry was an opponent of Christianity and religion. He was also an early advocate of atheism in Europe.

Works related to atheism

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says concerning the work of Paul-Henri Thiry/Baron d'Holbach:

Although indeed Holbach devotes the entire second volume of Système de la nature and all of Le Bon Sens to the defense of atheism and the criticism of particular claims about God, his views do not hold great philosophical interest. They emphasize well worn topics such as the problem of evil, the impossibility of discussing intelligibly what is unknowable, the suspect psychological origins of religious belief, and the confusion of traditional descriptions of God in terms that are simply the negation of genuine descriptive terms: for example, to say that God is infinite is just to deny that God is finite. None of these arguments is unique to Holbach or especially well presented by him.[2]

External links


  1. Paul-Henri Thiry - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. Paul-Henri Thiry - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy