Ironischerweise gilt als registriertes Todesdatum der Der Mensch eine Maschine Reclam , S. Laska Hrsg. Er zog sich ein hitziges Fieber mit heftigem Delirium zu. Zweite, verbesserte und erweiterte Auflage. Verlag von J.
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Early life[ edit ] La Mettrie was born at Saint-Malo in Brittany on November 23, , and was the son of a prosperous textile merchant. His initial schooling took place in the colleges of Coutances and Caen. It was under Boerhaave that La Mettrie was influenced to try to bring changes to medical education in France. For five years, La Mettrie studied at faculty of medicine in Paris, and enjoyed the mentorship of Hunauld.
His stay in Holland proved to be short but influential. In the following years, La Mettrie settled down to professional medical practice in his home region of Saint-Malo, disseminating the works and theories of Boerhaave through the publication and translation of several works. He married in but the marriage, which produced two children, proved an unhappy one. This experience would instill in him a deep aversion to violence which is evident in his philosophical writings.
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. The ethical implications of these principles would later be worked out in his Discours sur le bonheur; La Mettrie considered it his magnum opus. This was the idea which brought him the enmity of virtually all thinkers of the French Enlightenment , and a damnatio memoriae  which was lifted only a century later by Friedrich Albert Lange in his Geschichte des Materialismus.
Philosophy[ edit ] Julien de La Mettrie is considered one of the most influential determinists of the eighteenth century. Along with aiding the furthering of determinism he considered himself a mechanistic materialist. He believed that mental processes were caused by the body.
He expressed these thoughts in his most important work Man a Machine. There he also expressed his belief that humans worked like a machine. This theory can be considered to build off the work of Descartes and his approach to the human body working as a machine. His opinions were so strong that he stated that Descartes was actually a materialist in regards to the mind.
He argued that humans were just complex animals. He believed that humans and animals were only different in regards to the complexity that matter was organized. He compared the differences between man and animal to those of high quality pendulum clocks and watches stating: "[Man] is to the ape, and to the most intelligent animals, as the planetary pendulum of Huygens is to a watch of Julien Le Roy ". He used apes as an example, stating that if they were trained they would be "perfect [men]".
His beliefs about humans and animals were based on two types of continuity. The first being weak continuity, suggesting that humans and animals are made of the same things but are organized differently.
His main emphasis however was on strong continuity, the idea that the psychology and behavior between humans and animals was not all that different. Man a Machine[ edit ] La Mettrie believed that man worked like a machine due to mental thoughts depending on bodily actions. He then argued that the organization of matter at a high and complex level resulted in human thought.
He did not believe in the existence of God. He rather chose to argue that the organization of humans was done to provide the best use of complex matter as possible. After gathering enough evidence, in medical and psychological fields, he published the book. He argued that events such as a beheaded chicken running around or a recently removed heart of an animal still working proved the connection between the brain and the body.
Rather, his writings were controversial and defiant. He noted that animals rarely tortured each other and argued that some animals were capable of some level of morality.
He believed that as machines, humans would follow the law of nature and ignore their own interests for those of others. His influence is seen in the reductionist approach of behavioral psychologists.
L’homme-machine selon La Mettrie
Julien Offray de La Mettrie