The French materialists were a group of French 18th-century philosophers during the Enlightenment. According to Wikipedia, “French materialism is the name given to a handful of French 18th-century philosophers during the Age of Enlightenment, many of them clustered around the salon of Baron d’Holbach. Although there are important differences between them, all of them were materialists who believed that the world was made up of a single substance, matter, the motions and properties of which could be used to explain all phenomena.”

Adam Smith and the “invisible hand”. Adam Smith was a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. He was a Scottish philosopher and economist. He was also a pioneer in the thinking of political economy. His metaphor the “invisible hand” referrers to the “unseen forces that move the free market economy”, according to Investopedia. This metaphor first appeared in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

The War of the Austrian Succession, according to Britannica, was a “group of related wars that took place after the death (1740) of Emperor Charles VI. At issue was the right of Charles’s daughter Maria Theresa to inherit the Habsburg lands. The war began when Frederick II of Prussia invaded Silesia in 1740.” According to Wikipedia, “The War of the Austrian Succession was a European conflict that took place between 1740 and 1748. Fought primarily in Central Europe, the Austrian Netherlands, Italy, the Atlantic and Mediterranean, related conflicts included King George’s War in North America, the the War of Jenkin’s Ear, the First Carnatic War and the First and Second Silesian Wars.”