La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de

(1709–1751)
French materialist. La Mettrie's first career was as a doctor, and he served from 1743 to 1745 as surgeon in the army during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1745 he published Histoire naturelle de l’âme (‘The Natural History of the Soul’) whose materialistic tendencies caused enough uproar for La Mettrie to retreat to Holland. Unabashed however, in 1748 he produced his most influential work, L’Homme machine (trs. as Man a machine, 1749), whose atheism and materialism outraged even the Dutch. Frederick the Great of Prussia invited La Mettrie to Berlin, where he continued to offend pious and dualistic orthodoxy with L’Homme plante (1748), Le Système d’Epicure (1750), and Discours sur le bonheur (1750). Although his 211 opinions were scandalous, when La Mettrie died prematurely (according to his enemies, because of hedonistic over-indulgence), Frederick composed his eulogy. La Mettrie's materialism is firmly based on the physics, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology of his time. But his forceful advocacy of the dependence of mental function on the state of the central nervous system and brain, and his resolutely scientific approach to the dynamics of motion and motivation, make him the earliest committed example of what is now the dominant functionalist and physicalist bio-medical approach to the nature of human beings. In ethics La Mettrie saw happiness as the natural aim of each organism (akin to health), and a century before Nietzsche drew the corollary that the bad conscience, as a prime enemy of happiness, is merely a disease that needs a cure.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de — ▪ French physician and philosopher born Dec. 25, 1709, Saint Malo, Fr. died Nov. 11, 1751, Berlin       French physician and philosopher whose Materialistic interpretation of psychic phenomena laid the groundwork for future developments of… …   Universalium

  • La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de — See Enlightenment II (The French): deism, morality and politics …   History of philosophy

  • Ламетри, Жюльен-Офре де / La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de — (1709 1751). Ламетри рассматривал человека как машину, что обеспечило ему место в истории бихевиоризма. В более поздний период деятельности он разрабатывал доктрину гедонизма, доказывая, что удовольствие есть единственная цель жизни и что вся… …   Психологическая энциклопедия

  • Julien Offroy de La Mettrie — Julien Offray de La Mettrie La Mettrie Philosophe occidental Époque moderne Naissance : 1709 à Saint Malo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • La Mettrie — La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de …   Philosophy dictionary

  • LA METTRIE (J. de) — LA METTRIE JULIEN OFFROY DE (1709 1751) Médecin et philosophe français. Né dans une famille de commerçants de Saint Malo, La Mettrie reçoit une bonne éducation chez les jésuites, en Normandie et à Paris; il étudie la médecine à Paris et à Reims.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • La Mettrie — (Julien Offroy de) (1709 1751) médecin et philosophe matérialiste français. Les thèses mécanistes de son Histoire naturelle de l âme (1745), firent scandale (avant celles de l Homme machine en 1748) et Frédéric II de Prusse l accueillit …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Enlightenment I (The French): science, materialism and determinism — The French Enlightenment I: science, materialism and determinism Peter Jimack The French Enlightenment is not just a convenient label devised by historians of philosophy, and the thinkers to be discussed in this chapter and the next were for the… …   History of philosophy

  • Enlightenment II (The French): deism, morality and politics — The French Enlightenment II: deism, morality and politics Peter Jimack One of the most striking features of the French Enlightenment was its hostility to Christianity, especially as represented by the Catholic Church, a hostility which went far… …   History of philosophy

  • France — /frans, frahns/; Fr. /frddahonns/, n. 1. Anatole /ann nann tawl /, (Jacques Anatole Thibault), 1844 1924, French novelist and essayist: Nobel prize 1921. 2. a republic in W Europe. 58,470,421; 212,736 sq. mi. (550,985 sq. km). Cap.: Paris. 3.… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.