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Enlightenment ContestedPhilosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279227

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279227.001.0001

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Men, Animals, Plants, and Fossils: French Hylozoic Matérialisme before Diderot

Men, Animals, Plants, and Fossils: French Hylozoic Matérialisme before Diderot

Chapter:
(p.733) 28 Men, Animals, Plants, and Fossils: French Hylozoic Matérialisme before Diderot
Source:
Enlightenment Contested
Author(s):

Jonathan I. Israel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279227.003.0028

This chapter focuses on Early Enlightenment French clandestine philosophical literature. The clandestine manuscripts exerted their greatest impact during the 1720s and 1730s, when two rival materialist solutions competed. On the one hand, some support was retained for an older conception of the soul as something consisting of invisible, superfine particles of matter, animating animals as well as men, and emanating, like fire or light, from heavier substances, associated with Epicureanism, Lucretius, and Gassendi. Against this pushed a more specifically ‘Spinozist’ tendency, conflating body and mind into one, deploying hylozoism and one-substance doctrine to eliminate the notion of soul as something distinct from body.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, French clandestine philosophical literature, hylozoism, soul

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