Büchner, Ludwig (1824–1899)
German physician and philosopher who, in his Kraft und
Stoff ("Force and Matter", 1855), attempted scientifically to establish
a materialistic view of the universe. This led to a violent controversy
and Büchner was compelled to resign his post at Tübingen University.
In Kraft und Stoff he attacked the teleology
inherent in pluralistic views of the universe based on natural
theology. He pointed out that there are many examples of phenomena surplus
to the requirements of life, such as the Sun "constantly squandering uselessly
huge quantities of light and heat in the cold realms of space" and, also
shining "during those untold of ages of the past in which no creature existed
... to turn these glorious arrangements to account ..."
Büchner was born in Darmstadt, where his father was a doctor. He studied
at Giessen, Starsburg, Würzburg, and Vienna. After leaving Tübingen,
he began medical practice in Darmstadt.