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As this passage makes clear, his conception of human virtue is quite traditional. Preservation and happiness, as Holbach conceives them, involve most of the same practices that the religious views Holbach denounces require for eternal preservation and felicity. Perhaps the principal practical difference between morality as Holbach conceives it and the Christian morality as Holbach understands it lies in the self-abnegation Holbach finds valued in Christian morality.

For Holbach, temperance, moderation and so on are virtues that one acquires out of a love for pleasure and life. On the other hand, he takes these virtues, as they are understood traditionally, to involve an unhealthy denial of one's love for wine, food and other familiar pleasures.

Temperance and moderation, for Holbach are the best means to the enjoyment of wine and food, whereas in the views he criticizes they are virtues by which we deny the value of such enjoyment. Holbach's political theory, which he developed for the most part after his metaphysics and ethics, extends his ethical views to the state. Society, when it is just, unites for the common purpose of preservation and the securing of welfare, and society contracts with government for this purpose.

Holbach's theory of social contract has two stages. The first is social. When individuals realize that others are the greatest helps to their own welfare, they make a pact with one another, uniting in order to obtain personal and proprietary security and other benefits of society Universal Morality 1.

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To strike such a pact is part of each person's reason:. The second stage of the social contract is more narrowly political. It is a contract that society, in order to secure the general welfare, strikes with a sovereign power, usually understood by Holbach to be a king limited, or at least informed by, a body of elected representatives La politique naturelle 3. This second social contract for Holbach, as for Locke, may be broken. Holbach is a thoroughgoing utilitarian: where the government fails to secure the general welfare, which consists principally in securing property and basic freedoms such as the freedoms of speech and religion, society has a right to revolution La politique naturelle , 4.

Perhaps because of the less cautious advocacy of right to revolution among other members of his coterie, particularly Naigeon, or perhaps because he criticized the kings of his time so fiercely, Holbach is sometimes regarded as an advocate of revolution. Holbach's discussion is tentative, however. He describes the right in La politique naturelle 4.

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Like Hobbes Leviathan , XXIX, 23 , Holbach expects that obedience to a sovereign will break down where individuals feel the need to secure their own lives. This is also why sovereigns need to take care to look after citizens' welfare and education.

Where they fail to do these things, citizens come to be ruled not by reason but by passion, and revolution results. Holbach's right to revolution, then, is less an advocacy of revolution than a warning to avoid the conditions that lead to it. Biography 2. Metaphysics: Matter and Motion, Cause and Effect 3. Ethics: Virtue for the Sake of Happiness 4. Biography Holbach was born in in Edesheim. Metaphysics: Matter and Motion, Cause and Effect The metaphysical position with which Holbach is most often associated is a negative one: atheism. Nature is known to us, when it can be known, as a sequence of causes and effects: The universe, that vast assemblage of every thing that exists, presents only matter and motion: the whole offers to our contemplation nothing but an immense, an uninterrupted succession of causes and effects.

However, Holbach holds that matter is a class, rather than a particular thing, since different objects may possess different properties as well: A satisfactory definition of matter has not yet been given…[Man] looked upon it as a unique being…whilst he ought to have contemplated it as a genus of beings, of which the individuals, although they might possess some common properties, such as extent, divisibility, figure, etc. Of fire, for example, Holbach writes: Fire, besides these general properties common to all matter, enjoys also the peculiar property of being put into activity by a motion producing on our organs of feeling the sensation of heat and by another, which communicates to our visual organs the sensation of light.

It is a genus of beings, of which the individuals, although they might possess some common properties, such as extent, divisibility, figure, etc. In making matter a genus of varied beings, Holbach creates a view flexible enough to accommodate an account of human nature more robust than that of many other materialists: …Man is, as a whole, the result of a certain combination of matter, endowed with particular properties, competent to give, capable of receiving, certain impulses, the arrangement of which is called organization, of which the essence is, to feel, to think, to act, to move, after a manner distinguished from other beings with which he can be compared.

Man, therefore, ranks in an order, in a system, in a class by himself, which differs from that of other animals, in whom we do not perceive those properties of which he is possessed. Holbach typically identifies bodies with causes and motions with effects, but he also allows that motions may be causes: A cause is a being which puts another in motion, or which produces some change in it. The effect is the change produced in one body by the motion or presence of another. Ethics: Virtue for the Sake of Happiness Holbach's ethics is naturalistic in the sense described.

Paul and the Giants of Philosophy

Ethics on Holbach's account, then, amounts to enlightened self-interest, vice to a failure to recognize the means to one's interest, and moral rules to hypothetical imperatives which dictate the means to happiness or self-preservation: [Man] was ignorant of his true interests; hence his irregularities, his intemperance, his shameful voluptuousness, with that long train of vices to which he has abandoned himself, at the expense of his preservation, at the risk of his permanent felicity.

This produces, on Holbach's account, the belief in God and other religious beliefs such as the belief in heaven and hell and immortality which in turn cause us to pursue self-preservation in misguided ways: The ignorance of natural causes created Gods, and imposture made them terrible. Man lived unhappy, because he was told that God had condemned him to misery. He never entertained a wish of breaking his chains, as he was taught, that stupidity, that the renouncing of reason, mental debility, and spiritual debasement, were the means of obtaining eternal felicity.

His criticism of religion, and of Catholicism in particular, is founded at least in part in the conviction that religion is the source of vice and unhappiness and that virtue can only fostered in people who seek to preserve themselves in the world of their immediate acquaintance: Renounce your vague hopes; disengage yourself from overwhelming fears…do not attempt to plunge your views into an impenetrable future… …Only think then, of making yourself happy in that existence which is known to you; if you would preserve yourself, be temperate, moderate, and reasonable; if you seek to render your existence durable, do not be prodigal of pleasure; abstain from everything that can be harmful to yourself or others.

Political Theory: Ethocracy Holbach's political theory, which he developed for the most part after his metaphysics and ethics, extends his ethical views to the state.


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To strike such a pact is part of each person's reason: Help me…and I will help you with all my talents.. System of Nature , translated by H. Robinson, New York: Burt Franklin, Le Bons Sens , London, La Politique naturelle , London, La Morale universelle , 3 volumes, Amsterdam, Goethe, J. Hobbes, Thomas Leviathan , ed. Edwin Curley, Indianapolis: Hackett, Peter Nidditch, Clarendon: Oxford, Spinoza, Benedictus, Spinoza Opera , Volume 2, ed. Carl Gebhart, Heidelberg: Carl Winters, Ladd, Everett C. Vercruysse, J. Did Paul quote pagan unbelievers in the New Testament?

Yes, he did. But, he did not quote them for the purpose of supporting them. Instead, he quoted them here and there to aid in defending and spreading the gospel. But, for him to do this, he would have had to study their teachings. If Paul could do it, so can we as long as we are putting quotes in the proper context either exposing error and or building a bridge by which we might better present the truth of God's word.

Paul quoted Menander in the book of Acts and in 1 Corinthians.

He quoted Epimenides in the book of Titus. Let's take a look.

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As you can see, Paul the apostle clearly quoted unbelievers. But I must say again that it is not in support of their inspiration or their wisdom. Subscription sign in. Read latest edition. UK Edition.

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