Julien Offroy de La Mettrie, (born Dec. 25, , Saint-Malo, Fr.—died Nov. 11, , Berlin), French physician and philosopher whose. Julien Offray de La Mettrie, the French physician and philosopher, was born in Saint-Malo, Brittany. After attending the Collège d’Harcourt, he studied medicine . La Mettrie, Julien Offray De(b. Saint-Malo, France, 19 December ; d.

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It was typical of his empirical procedure that he found proof of the autonomous energy and internal finality of the organism in the physiological data of irritability. Materialism and scientific discovery. He received his degree in medicine at Rheims in and for the next 5 years practiced medicine in ofray native city. This mechanical ordering and manipulation by the brain of its symbolically represented contents prompted La Mettrie to consider that the fundamental faculty of the mind is “imagination.

From on, La Mettrie practiced medicine in the Saint-Malo jjulien. A recent photo repr. Frederick II composed the eulogy that was read before the Berlin Academy.

However, several additional features of his biography warrant mention. Accordingly, he diagnosed the greatest threat to felicity to be “remorse,” a morbid and “unnatural” symptom, which he proposed, ever faithful to the Hippocratic oath, to alleviate in all and sundry, including even conscience-ridden criminals; he remarked that the practical control of social behavior was a political matter and no business of his.

Paul, Trench, Trubner, In more recent years, La Mettrie has been more accurately acknowledged as a proponent of comparative anatomy and organic models of human life.

La Mettrie, Julien Offray De

He believed that humans and animals were only different in regards to the complexity that matter was organized. La Mettrie’s philosophy, and in particular the man-machine doctrine central to it, has, owing to its very character, grown somewhat obsolete, together with the scientific documentation to which it was so intimately linked.

Julien Offray de La Mettrie December 25, — November 11, was a Offrqy physician and philosopherthe earliest of the materialist writers of the Enlightenment. Discours sur le bonheur. Along with aiding the furthering of determinism he considered himself a mechanistic materialist. However, La Mettrie offered his ideas as a general hypothesis for the study of human behavior, and did not feel the need to associate all mental processes with specific physiological causes.


Several themes of interest to the history of science grew logically df of the man-machine thesis. Following mettdie pioneering researches of Albrecht von HallerLa Mettrie was among offrwy first to understand the radical value of the capacity for irritability, and he succeeded in interpreting it with particular relevance for his thesis of ofcray automatism.

The organic machine that sustains the sensitive and mental life of the individual is defined by La Mettrie as a purposively self-moving and self-sufficient system, consisting of dynamically interrelated parts. He lived in Berlin under the protection of his patron Frederick the Great.

The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final dee. Among the subsidiary themes of L’homme machinethe declaration of atheism julisn a new and significant development.

Offraay book was burned by the public hangman. There he developed his doctrines still more boldly and completely in L’Homme machinea hastily written treatise based upon consistently materialistic and quasi-atheistic principles.

A Study in the Origins of an Idea, developing more boldly and completely, and with great originality, his Materialistic and atheistic views. Seen in historical perspective, such a position may be described as the final outcome both of the iatromechanistic tradition that had reached La Mettrie through Boerhaave and of the Cartesian automatist biology that had filtered down to him through numerious intermediaries who had already sought, in varying degrees, to extend its beastmachine concept to the study of human behavior.

He then argued that the organization of matter at a high and complex level resulted in human thought. The awareness of professional issues that La Mettrie gained as a medical iffray led him to lampoon the ignorance and venality of Parisian medical practitioners.

Julien Offray de La Mettrie – Wikiwand

The problem of the moral or intellectual perfectibility of man, within the compass of La Mettrie’s materialism, becomes primarily a medical problem, for its solution depends on the possibility of perfecting the state of metrie organism.


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An anthology of selected materials can be found in Marcelle Tisserand, ed. His main emphasis however was on strong continuity, the juliem that the psychology and behavior between humans and animals was not all that different.

La Mettrie’s celebration of sensual pleasure was said to have resulted in his early death.

Toward the end ofhowever, he left abruptly for Paris and soon thereafter embarked on the adventurous and harried career that lasted until his death. La Mettrie was born at Saint-Malo in Brittany on November 23,and was the son of a prosperous textile merchant.

The other was the aim of establishing medicine on as sound a theoretical basis as possible by linking it directly to anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and mechanics.

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The technical documentation with which La Mettrie tried to prove his case was, to be sure, seriously limited by the knowledge then available concerning the life sciences.

However, as scholars of eighteenth-century culture have moved beyond the great luminaries of the Enlightenment to less prominent figures and to scientific and literary institutions, they have recognized that medical writings and ideas had a greater impact on the Enlightenment than earlier scholarship acknowledged.

The Discours sur le bonheur was misinterpreted as a cynical inducement to vice and crime and, more than any of his works, gave to the author an enduring reputation for immoralism among philosophes and antiphilosophes alike.

The other source in English is a more general work by G. La Mettrie, who left no correspondence or memoirs and whose career took place too early and on the periphery of Parisian culture and the emerging Enlightenment movement, has largely proved difficult to place culturally or to integrate into the social history of science.