Baron d’Holbach (1723–1789) was an 18th Century author and philosopher.
D’Holbach was an atheist, and wrote several pieces that argued against religion and criticized Christianity. He read scientific works of his era, and made the claim that the deterministic nature of the universe extended to humans, and hence there is no free will. He also argued for the identity of the human mind with the physical brain.
He also wrote articles for the French Encyclopédie, and translated several German philosophical works into French.
D’Holbach’s philosophical writings were all published either under pseudonyms, or anonymously. For instance, his most influential work, The System of Nature, was published under the name of another French writer, Jean-Baptiste de Mirabaud, who had been dead for ten years by the time the work was published. He didn’t publish his works in France, where he lived.
Name: Paul-Henri Thierry, Baron d’Holbach
Born: December 8, 1723, Edesheim, Germany
Died: January 21, 1789