Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry, baron d'

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Paul Henri Thiry Holbach, baron d' (pôl äNrē´ tērē´ bärôN´ dôlbäk´), Ger. Paul Heinrich Dietrich, Baron von Holbach (poul´ hīn´rĬkh dētrĬkh bärōn´ fŭn hôl´bäkh), 1723–89, French philosopher, one of the Encyclopedists. Although a native of the Palatinate, he lived in Paris from childhood. He became a member of a group of notable thinkers and literary men including Diderot, Helvétius, Condorcet, and Rousseau. A supporter of naturalistic and materialistic views, he was a vigorous opponent of Christianity and all positive forms of religion. His best-known work is Système de la nature (1770), first published under the name of Mirabaud.

See biography by W. H. Wickwar (1935, repr. 1968); study by M. Cushing (1914, repr. 1971).