The French Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in France that began around the 17th century and lasted until the early 19th century. The long lasting influence of this period is still seen today in the ideas and writings of many people, but one man stands out from all others: Baron D’Holbach. His work had a tremendous impact on philosophy and also contributed to science, politics, economics, history, arts, education, religion and more. In this article we will explore his life as well as analyze his philosophies which were so influential during his time that he has been called “the most radical thinker of eighteenth-century Europe.”

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D’Holbach was born in 1723 to a wealthy family of wine merchants, and from an early age it seemed he would follow the path his father had- becoming a successful businessman. However, as time went on D’Holbach became more interested in literature and philosophy, abandoning commerce for these intellectual pursuits. He eventually studied theology and physics at St. Sulpice College from 1743-1747 while simultaneously trying to publish philosophical essays defending atheism against religious persecution by the state church officials. His writings were denied publication because they were seen as too radical or dangerous for public consumption but thanks to help from Voltaire among others they found their way into print anyway through indirect means such as translation and anonymous publishing which allowed him access to many

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