He has often been called the Voltaire of the East, and cried down as materialist and atheist.
As regards the first of these two main contentions, it must suffice here to point out the main difficulties in which a determinist and especially materialist account of the relation between consciousness and the organic processes which accompany it appears to be involved.
Science, says the materialist, proves that all known things are material phenomena.
So Avenarius (q.v.) was no materialist, but only an empiricist anxious to reclaim man's natural view of the world from philosophic incrustations; yet when his Empiriokriticismus ends in nothing but environment, nervous system, and statements dependent on them, without soul, though within experience, he comes near to materialism, as Wundt has remarked.
Thus, by his enemies, Thorbecke was often held up to scorn as a pure materialist and no friend of the fine arts, because at a sitting of the states-general in 1862 he had said that it is not the duty of the state, nor in the true interest of art itself, for the government to "protect" art, since all state-aided art must be artificial, like any forced plant.