The materialist school of philosophy passed from England to France, to be taken up and developed further by Rene Descartes (1596-1650) and his followers. These French materialists did not limit themselves to criticisms of religion, but extended them to all institutions and ideas. They challenged these things in the name of Reason, and gave ammunition to the developing bourgeoisie in their struggle with the monarchy. The birth of the great French Bourgeois Revolution of 1789-93 took as its creed materialist philosophy. Unlike the English Revolution in the mid-17th century, its French counter-part completely destroyed the old feudal order. As Engels later pointed out: “We know today that this kingdom of reason was nothing more than the idealised kingdom of the bourgeoisie.”
Nevertheless, there is some controversy regarding the proper ending of the Proem . While Lines -30 are reported by several additional sources (Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, Clement, and Proclus), Simplicius alone quotes lines -32. In contrast, Sextus continued his block quotation of the Proem after line with the lines currently assigned to C/DK -7, as if these immediately followed. Diels-Kranz separated Sextus’ quotation into distinct fragments (1 and 7) and added Simplicius’ lines to the end of C/DK 1. The vast majority of interpreters have followed both these moves. However, there may be good reasons to challenge this reconstruction (compare Bicknell 1968; Kurfess 2012, 2014).
Hegel's thinking can be understood as a constructive development within the broad tradition that includes Plato and Immanuel Kant . To this list one could add Proclus , Meister Eckhart , Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , Plotinus , Jakob Böhme , and Jean-Jacques Rousseau . What all these thinkers share, which distinguishes them from materialists like Epicurus and Thomas Hobbes , and from empiricists like David Hume , is that they regard freedom or self-determination both as real and as having important ontological implications, for soul or mind or divinity. This focus on freedom is what generates Plato's notion (in the Phaedo , Republic , and Timaeus ) of the soul as having a higher or fuller kind of reality than inanimate objects possess. While Aristotle criticizes Plato's "Forms," he preserves Plato's cornerstones of the ontological implications for self-determination: ethical reasoning, the soul's pinnacle in the hierarchy of nature, the order of the cosmos, and an assumption with reasoned arguments for a prime mover. Kant imports Plato's high esteem of individual sovereignty to his considerations of moral and noumenal freedom, as well as to God. All three find common ground on the unique position of humans in the scheme of things, known by the discussed categorical differences from animals and inanimate objects.