Julien Offray de La Mettrie; L’homme machine; Leyden: Elie Luzac, The first English translation was in ; a second edition published in London in. It also includes translations of other works by La Mettrie that have never before been translated into English. The original title is L’Homme Machine, an odd bit of . La Mettrie, Julien Offray de () Homme machine. Man a machine: wherein the several systems of philosophers, in respect to the soul of man, are.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Neither shall I dwell long on the details of the effects of sleep.

Man a Machine

If there were not an internal cord which pulled the external ones, whence would come all these phenomena? But furthermore, how many excellent philosophers have machinw that thought is but a faculty of feeling, and that the reasonable soul is but the feeling soul engaged in contemplating its ideas and in reasoning!

All has been accomplished through signs, every species has learned what it could understand, and in this way men have acquired symbolic knowledge, still so called by our German philosophers.

History and Systems of Psychology 6 ed. The best of organisms has need of this exercise. I certainly would not give myself a quarter of the trouble that M. Those whom nature shall have favored will seem to him to deserve more respect than those whom she has treated in step-motherly fashion.

La Mettrie : Homme machine

Farewell then to the natural law and all the nomme treatises published about it! But as the power of the will is exercised by means of the nerves, it is likewise limited by them.

On the other hand, must the embarrassment of an explanation overbalance a fact? Criminals, scoundrels, ingrates, those in short without natural feelings, unhappy tyrants who are unworthy of life, in vain take a cruel pleasure in their barbarity, for there are calm moments of reflection in which the avenging conscience arises, testifies against them, and condemns them to be almost ceaselessly torn to pieces at hommw own hands.

But in pardoning the faults of the structure of mind and body, he will none the less admire the beauties and the virtues of both. Therefore let the pretended Machjne. But I will for a moment suppose that I am utterly mistaken in concluding that almost all the world holds a wrong opinion on this subject, while I alone am right.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. How can we define a being whose nature is absolutely unknown to us? Thus nature made us to be lower than animals or at least to exhibit all the more, because of that native inferiority, the wonderful efficacy of education which alone raises us from the level of the animals and lifts us above them.

But the better to show this dependence, in its completeness and its causes, let us here make use of comparative anatomy; let us lay bare the organs of man and of animals.



machie We no longer regard even our own parents and children. Thus, to machime, only the physicians have a right to speak on this subject. For of these women, of whom I tell, one was cruelly beaten and burned, and another was buried alive.

But a being to which nature has given such a precocious and enlightened instinct, which judges, combines, reasons, and deliberates as far as the sphere of its activity extends and permits, a being which feels attachment because of benefits received, and which leaving a master who treats it badly goes to seek a better one, a being with a structure like ours, which performs the same acts, has the same passions, the same griefs, the same pleasures, more or less intense according to the sway of the imagination and the delicacy of the nervous organization — does not such a being show clearly that it knows its faults and ours, understands good and evil, and in a word, has consciousness of what it does?

If the imagination, or let us say, mettris fantastic part of the brain whose nature is as unknown to us as its way of acting, be naturally small or weak, it will hardly be able to compare the analogy or the resemblance of its ideas, it will be able to see only what is face to face with it, or what affects it very strongly; and how will it see all this! He hides himself as if he were ashamed of taking pleasure, and of having been made to be happy, while animals frankly glory in being Cynics.

Man a Machine French: Willis and Perrault, minds of a more feeble stamp, but careful observers of nature whereas nature was known to the famous Leyden professor only through others and second hand, so to speak seem to have preferred to suppose a soul generally extended over the whole body, instead of the principle which we are describing. Break the chain of your prejudices, arm yourselves with the torch of experience, and you will render nature the honor she deserves, instead of inferring anything to her disadvantage, from the ignorance in which she has left you.

Nothing, as any one can see, is so simple as the mechanism of our education. It seems that the disease, knowing with whom it had to deal, was cunning enough to attack him mfttrie by the brain, in order to destroy him the more surely. He did not believe in the existence ,achine God. What can I add to the stories already told of those who imagine themselves transformed into wolf-men, cocks or vampires, or of those who think that the dead feed upon them?

He expressed these thoughts in his most important work Man a Machine. The mind, like the body, has its contagious diseases and its scurvy. One can and one even ought to admire all these fine geniuses in their most useless works, such men as Descartes, Malebranche, Leibnitz, Wolff and the rest, but what profit, I ask, has any one gained from their profound meditations, and from all their works?

In disease the soul is sometimes hidden, showing no sign of life; sometimes it is so inflamed by fury that it seems to be doubled; sometimes, imbecility vanishes and the convalescence of ,ettrie idiot produces a wise man. Thus to destroy chance is not to prove the existence of a supreme being, since there may be some other thing which is neither chance nor God — I mean, nature.


A beautiful woman would be as foolish to think herself ugly, as an intelligent man to think himself a fool.

In short, the materialist, convinced, in spite of the protests of his vanity, that is he but a machine or an animal, will not maltreat his kind, for he will know too well the nature of those actions, whose humanity is always in proportion to the degree of analogy proved above [between human beings and animals]; and following the natural law given to all animals, he will not wish to do to others what he would not wish them to do to him.

That egg, sometimes encountered in the fallopian tubes, is borne by these channels to the womb, where it takes root, like a grain of wheat in the earth. Related articles Paradox of hedonism Hedonic treadmill.

It was under Boerhaave that La Mettrie was influenced to try to bring changes to medical education in France. Everything may be reduced to sounds or words that pass from the mouth of one through the ears of another into his brain. But in order not to languish in poorly understood wealth and fecundity, we must limit ourselves to a small number of questions and reflections. An exaggerated modesty a rare fault, to be sure is a kind of ingratitude towards nature.

The weight of the universe therefore far from crushing a real atheist does not even shake him. The invalid was obliged to have recourse to the science of his colleagues, but he failed to find the succor that his own skill had so often afforded as well to himself as to the public”. This is about all macuine know about generation.

Man has been trained in the same way as animals. Reduced mettriw the bare intuitive knowledge of the Leibnizians he saw only shapes and colors, without being able to distinguish between them: We think we are, and in fact we are, good men, only as we are gay or brave; everything depends on the way mafhine machine is running.

In the society of the unintelligent, the mind grows rusty for lack of exercise, as at tennis a ball that is served badly is badly returned. The soul feels itself little by little growing heavy as the eyelids droop, and loses its tenseness, as the fibres of the brain relax; thus little by little it becomes as if paralyzed and with it all the muscles of the body.

Those are the ways, so far meftrie I can understand them, in which men have filled the brain with the ideas, for the reception of which nature made it.