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ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

philosophy

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La Mettrie, Julien Offray de (1709-1751)
Homme machine
Man a machine : wherein the several systems of philosophers, in respect to the soul of man, are examin'd, the different states of the soul are shewn to be co-relative to those of the body, the diversity between men and other animals, is proved to arise from the different quantity and quality of brains, the law of nature is explained, as relative to the whole animal creation, the immateriality of an inward principle is by experiments and observations exploded, and a full detail is given of the several springs which move the human machine / translated from the French of Mons. de La Mettrie.
London : Printed for G. Smith, 1750.

Image from La Metrrie's Homme machine

La Mettrie's Man a machine is the culmination of the mechanistic physiology which had its origins in the late Renaissance and was given new impetus by Descartes. In fact, Man a machine is heavily dependent upon Descartes' Treatise of Man in spite of La Mettrie's criticisms of Descartes. To many it was the natural extension of Descartes bÍte machine doctrine and smacked of materialism.

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