What is French Materialism?July 1, 2021
French Materialism or French Materialism is one of the important currents of thought of the 18th century. French Materialism is the French understanding of mechanical materialism. Notably Denis Diderot, Julien Offroy de la Mettrie and Paul Henri Baron d’Holbach are known as French materialists.
French materialism originated from the sources of Descartes and Locke. Descartes was a materialist in his physics, sensing the spontaneous creative power in matter and explaining the motion of matter as a mechanical motion. The mechanism of the French materialists also comes from the thought of Descartes.
The distinctive feature of French materialists is that they are mechanistic materialists and cannot explain natural evolution, and cannot apply materialism to social life. Their advances in the materialism war against them and their influence on large communities with their thoughts were the reason why they left their mark on their era.
To put it in a straight and simple sense, 18th century Enlightenment French philosophy, and especially French materialism, did not only struggle against existing political institutions, against existing religion and theology; but he fought openly and publicly against seventeenth-century metaphysics as well as against any metaphysics, especially that of Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, and Leibniz. Seventeenth-century metaphysics had to abandon the field to French materialism.
Materialism is the child of Great Britain. The distinction between French materialism and English materialism is that between two nations. The French added spirit, flesh and blood, eloquence to English materialism. They gave him the excitement and grace he lacked, they civilized him.