Naigon, Jacques Andre

Naigon, Jacques Andre a modern French infidel of note, was born at Paris or at Dijon in 1738. He was intended to be an artist, either painter or sculptor, and was afforded all the opportunities to secure him distinction in his profession. But brought in contact with the eminent philosophers of his time, especially with Diderot and Holbach, Naigon was inspired with a love for study, and he soon began to write for the public, at first ulnder a nom-de-plume, and later under his own signature, and ably defended his friends from the severe and just attacks of the theological and critical world. He was himself inclined to accept a more substantial philosophy than Diderot and Holbach taught, but by his defence of these wild thinkers he was led away, until he taught and thought as they did. Thus in his Theologie Portative (Lond. and Amsterd. 1768, 12mo) he defines the soul as an unknown substance, which in a certain way controls our body, but which we can never definitely know. Spirituality he defines as an occult quality, invented by Plato, perfected by Des Cartes, and changed into an article of faith by the theologians. Immortality is not much better treated: "It is essential for the Cihurch that our soul be immortal; as without it we could not very well find employment for the ministers in churches — it would force the clergy to bankruptcy." In the same manner he treats the doctrine of Free Will. and all other theological dogmas. Engaged as editor on the philosophical portion of the

EIncyclopedie Methodique (Dictionnaire des philosophes anciens et modernes [Par. 1791-94, 3 volumes, 8vo]), he there incorporated his views, and laid down doctrines clearly evincing a philosophy of fatalism, materialism, and even atheism. He entered the political life, but was not as notably successful. He died February 28, 1810. His works are largely collections of ancient philosophers. He also edited the writings of his friends Diderot and Holbach; and assisted in an edition of Rousseau's and Montaigne's works. See Damiron, Memoires pour servir a l'histoire de la Philosophie au dix-huitieme siecle, volume 2, part 8; Dictionnaire des Sciences philosophiques, volume 4, s.v. (J.H.W.)

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