An Affirmative History And Definition


This well-researched study traces the materialist hypothesis that all existence is an unbroken, material continuum from its origins in ancient Greece to modern times. Starting with Lucretius's great 1st-century-B.C.E. poem The Nature of Things, it proceeds through the Enlightenment materialism of Paul d'Holbach's masterpiece The System of Nature, to 19th-century materialism and Ludwig Büchner's epochal Force and Matter. It concludes by examining the 20th-century literature of mind-brain materialism.

Addressed to specialists and general readers alike, Vitzthum's interdisciplinary approach avoids technical jargon as it critically reviews the premises and literature of materialism from philosophical, historical, scientific, and literary perspectives.

Richard C. Vitzthum is a professor of English at the University of Maryland.

246 pages Publication date 30th May 1996

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