La Mettrie: Machine Man and Other Writings

La Mettrie: Machine Man and Other Writings

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Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-51), author of Machine Man (1747), was the most uncompromising of the materialists of the eighteenth century, and the provocative title of his work ensured it a succes de scandale in his own time. It was however a serious, if polemical, attempt to provide an explanation of the workings of the human body and mind in purely material terms and to show that thought was the product of the workings of the brain alone. This fully annotated edition presents an English translation of the text together with the most important of La Mettrie's other philosophical works translated into English, and Ann Thomson's introduction examines his aims and the scandalous moral consequences which he drew from his materialism.
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'The present volume is a welcome addition intended for use by other readers interested in philosophy, the history of science, the history of theology and the history of ideas. A. Thomson provides a good general introduction setting La Mettrie in the context of eighteenth-century thought ... All the texts produced here benefit from useful notes. The brief annotations on them in the footnotes are complemented by a chronology of La Mettrie and an excellent bibliography.' British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies
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Table of contents

Foreword; Introduction; Chronology; Further reading; 1. Machine Man; 2. Treatise on the soul; 3. Man as Plant; 4. The System of Epicurus; 5. Anti-Seneca or the Sovereign Good; 6. Preliminary Discourse; Index.
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