Claude Adrien Helvétius

1715 (Paris) – 1771 (Paris)

Gibbon met him at d’Holbach’s salon, which he frequented; Smith also met him in Paris. Rousseau and he respected each other, but had conflicting ideas about education. Buffon invited him to stay. Voltaire saw that he was no poet and urged him to write more plainly, was publicly critical of his ‘de l’Esprit’, but defended its right to exist. Diderot, another in d’Holbach’s circle, wrote a refutation of Helvétius’ ‘de l’Homme.’ He tried to dissuade his good friend Montesquieu from publishing some of the opinions in ‘Esprit des Lois’, but the book became a success. Where he died seems disputed.