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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Placing man in the scale of beings, that work suggested the evolution and interrelation of beings. Previous Juliana of the Netherlands. After he had studied theology in the Jansenist schools for several years, a doctor in his home town of Malo persuaded him to become a physician and convinced his father that medicine would be a more lucrative profession than the priesthood.

In epistemology, La Mettrie’s characteristic approach was to offer picturable analogies between mind and brain, suggesting however crudely the model of a “thinking machine” into which sense perceptions feed mettgie in the form of meftrie symbols that are, in turn, stored, classed, compared, and combined by the cerebral apparatus in order to engender all the known varieties of thought.

See also Aram Vartanian’s critical edition of L’Homme machine: Supposing the observable differences in intelligent behavior among the various species to be a question merely of degree, La Mettrie ascribed these to the ascending order of complexity of be found in the central nervous apparatus of mammals from the lowliest up to man. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

One was the continuity it asserted between the mentality of man and that of those animals most resembling him. La Mettrie obtained a medical degree at Reims, studied medicine in Leiden under Hermann Boerhaave some of whose works he translated into Frenchand served as surgeon to the French military.

It is important to note, in light of his subsequent vociferous critique of the medical profession, that it was his dissatisfaction with his medical education, specifically as a foundation for medical practice, that took him to the University of Leiden to study with Hermann Boerhaave, a renowned teacher of physiology and chemistry and an innovative clinical practitioner.


But it must bot be forgotten that the bond which he julidn to forge between the practice of medicine and eudaemonistic or humanitarian ethics took for granted, on his part, a doctrine of physiological determinism that left no freedom to the individual, whose actions were juluen to be intrinsically amoral. Its concern with ontogenesis and the origin of species represented a broadening of La Mettrie’s materialism into an area of biological speculation which, at the time, was just beginning to excite interest.

A violent fever with fierce delirium came on.

Frederick the Great gave the funeral oration, which remains the major biographical source on La Mettrie’s life. In L’homme machine no essential distinction remained between ofvray conscious and voluntary, as against the merely vital, involuntary, or instinctual activities of the “human machine”; the two types of activity are presumed explainable by the relative complexity of the mechanical structures responsible for their production.

He was astute enough julirn grasp, in relation to the man-machine idea, the theoretical value of the discoveries that Heller had just made concerning the irritable properties of muscle tissue. A violent fever with fierce delirium came on.

There are critical presentations of two individual works: Julien Offroy de La Mettrie.

La Mettrie | Lapham’s Quarterly

Df those who are not imposed upon by the pious insults of the theologians mourn in La Mettrie a good man and a wise physician. However, La Mettrie regarded matter as essentially active and sensitive, and the living machine as a purposive, autonomous, and dynamic system.

This circumstance, along with an imprudent satire he wrote on the foibles of oftray medical colleagues, caused La Mettrie to exile himself to Holland. La Mettrie held that “Nature has destined all of us solely mettfie be happy. This page was last edited on 14 Novemberat Epicureanism and egoism in modern philosophy philosophical views In Western philosophy: Following the pioneering researches of Albrecht von HallerLa Mettrie was among the first to understand the radical value of the capacity for irritability, and he succeeded in interpreting it with particular relevance for his thesis of psychophysical automatism.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. So great was the outcry caused by its publication that La Mettrie was forced to quit his position with the French Guards, taking refuge in Leiden. 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.


His initial schooling took place in the colleges of Coutances and Caen. The book was burned by the public hangman. The awareness of professional issues that La Mettrie gained as a medical student led him to lampoon the ignorance and venality of Parisian medical practitioners.

Julien Offray de La Mettrie

Drawing, on the one hand, from the common fund of Lockean sensationalism to which he gave, incidentally, a materialist meaningLa Mettrie argued that the contents of the mind — hence mettfie mind itself — have no reality independently of the natural world in which sense impressions originate or of the sense organs by which these are transmitted. He returned from Leiden a staunch proponent of a cautious, empiricist, and utilitarian approach to knowledge and an opponent of rationalist metaphysics.

dee It was under Boerhaave that La Mettrie was jullien to try to bring changes to medical education in France. This position even found its way into many of the articles of the great…. Establishing a natural continuity from the external world through the sensory apparatus to the brain itself, La Mettrie identified the soul with a physically conditioned process in a way that allowed him to explain the various faculties of the soul, such as memory, reflection, imagination, the emotions, judgment, volition, solely in terms of their related organic causes.

In La Mettrie returned to Pariswhere he obtained the appointment of surgeon julifn the guards and accompanied the duke of Gramont to war. Three works detailing the social and ethical consequences of La Mettrie’s view of man followed: 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.