<history of philosophy, biography> french philosopher (1715-1771), Encyclopedist, and committed hedonist. Both De l'esprit (Of Mind) (1758) and De l'homme (Of Man) (1773) use empiricist methods to defend a strictly materialist account of human life, according to which ethical egoism is generated y the natural desire to maximize pleasure. Recommended Reading: Claude-Adrien Helvetius, Philosophical Works (Thoemmes, 2000) and David W. Smith, Helvetius: A Study in Persecution (Greenwood, 1982).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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