Toward a European history of scientific materialism
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It was Jacob Moleschott’s work on nutrition which inspired Ludwig Feuerbach’s famous statement “Man is what he eats.” Along with Carl Vogt and Ludwig Büchner, the Dutch physiologist is known as a main representative of nineteenth-century scientific materialism—or “vulgar materialism,” to use Karl Marx’ derogatory vocabulary. Laura Meneghello offers the welcome first academic biography of Moleschott. The book, based on her dissertation, draws on a significant amount of new sources, including Moleschott’s correspondence with his family, friends and numerous European scientists, his published and unpublished university lectures and public speeches as well as the drafts of his unpublished and unfinished work, the “Anthropologie.” The author’s intention is to write a cultural and social history of a natural scientist, popularizer of science, politician and a major figure in the transfer of scientific ideas between va rious European countries in the nineteenth century.
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