Büchner, Friedrich Karl Christian Ludwig (louis) (1824--99)

In Edward Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 48-51 (1998)
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Ludwig Büchner wrote one of the most popular and polemical books of the strong materialist movement in the later nineteenth-century Germany, his Kraft und Stoff (Force and Matter) (1855). He tried to develop a comprehensive worldview, which was based solely on the findings of empirical science and did not take refuge in religion or any other transcendent categories in explaining nature and its development, including human beings. When Büchner tried to expose the backwardness of traditional philosophical and religious views in scientific matters, his arguments had some force, but the positive part of his programme was not free of superficiality and naivety. Büchner’s writings helped to strengthen progressive and rational traditions inside and outside philosophy, but they can also serve as the prime example of the uncritical nineteenth- century belief in science’s capacity to redeem humankind from all evil.
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