Jacob Moleschott

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In existographies, Jacob Moleschott (133-62 BE) (1822-1893 ACM) (PR:24,748|65AE / philosopher:746) (FA:138) (CR:5) (LH:#) (TL:#) was a Dutch physiologist, noted for []


Thought | Phosphorus

See main: No thought without phosphorus

In late 1840s, Feuerbach was lecturing on the following idea:

“One is what one eats. Is it any wonder that it is so dark in the world because our greatest thinkers had no phosphorus in their heads... (and in connection with the unsuccessful German revolution of 1848)... Food becomes blood, blood becomes heart and brain, thoughts and thinking stuff. Whoever restricts himself to vegetables is only a vegetative being, without any vigor.”
— Ludwig Feuerbach (c.1848), Publication

In c.1849, Moleschott, who had attended Feuerbach's lectures, while in communication to Ludwig Buchner, stated ‘without phosphorus no thought’; cited as follows:

“The brain cannot exist without phosphorus-containing fat. The phosphorus is the origin, hence also established activity of the brain — without phosphorus no thought.”
— Jacob Moleschott (c.1849), cited by Ludwig Feuerbach (1850) in “The Natural Sciences and the Revolution” (pg. #)[1]

This ‘phosphorus = mind’ motto quickly made the rounds, in the half-century to follow.


In 1872, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in his Demons (aka The Possessed), tells a story where an a atheist officer puts three books, namely by Ludwig Buchner, Karl Vogt, and Moleschott, on a shrine, like a "trio of Bibles" (AB:27), and burns a candle in front of each one, the collected set considered to an “atheist’s bible of sorts”.


Quotes | By

The following are quotes:

Force is no impelling god, no entity separate from the material substratum; it is inseparable from matter, is one of its eternal indwelling properties. A force unconnected with matter, hovering loose over matter, is an utterly empty conception. In nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, in sulphur and phosphorus, their several properties have dwelt from all eternity.”
— Jacob Moleschott (c.1850), Source; cited by Ludwig Buchner (1855) in Force and Matter (pg. 1)[2]
Thought is a motion of matter.”
— Jacob Moleschott (c.1850), Source; cited by Ludwig Buchner (1855) in Force and Matter (§:Thought, pg. 241)[2]; cited by: Anon (1874) as as an "explicit statement of an extreme form of materialism" (anon, 1874)[3]; cited by: George Gore (1899) in The Scientific Basis of Morality (pg. 258)[4]

End matter


  1. (a) Feuerbach, Ludwig. (1850). “The Natural Sciences and the Revolution” (“Die Naturwissenschaft und die Revolution”) (German → English). Publisher.
    (b) Feuerbach, Ludwig. (1975). Feuerbach’s Works, Volumes 1-6 (editor: Thies) (vol. 4, pgs. 243-65; quote, pgs. 253-54). Frankfurt.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Buchner, Ludwig. (1855). Force and Matter: Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe, with a System of Morality Based Thereon (15th German edition; 4th English edition). London: Asher and Co, 1891.
  3. Author. (1874). “Mind and the Science of Energy (§: Is Thought a Function of Matter?)” (pgs. 99-130, quote, pg. 119), The British Quarterly Review, 59, Jan-Apr.
  4. Gore, George. (1899). The Scientific Basis of Morality (pg. 258). Publisher.

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