Donor challenge: Your generous donation will be matched 2-to-1 right now. Your $5 becomes $15! Dear Internet Archive Supporter,. I ask only. Author: Julien Offray de La Mettrie. Title: “L’homme machine”. Year: Page 2 . Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page 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 .
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Let us observe man both in and out of his shell, let us examine young embryos of four, six, eight or fifteen days with a microscope; after that time our eyes are sufficient. T hat the heart contracts more strongly than any other muscle? It is short and simple.
How can human nature be known, if we may not derive any light from an exact comparison of the structure of man and of animals? Does this bring gain or loss? Perhaps there even are animal plants, metyrie in vegetating, either fight as polyps do, or perform other functions characteristic of animals.
Everything may be reduced to sounds or words that pass from the mouth of one through the ears of another into his brain. Among these sciences, evidently those whose signs are less simple and less sensible are harder to understand than the others, because more talent is required to comprehend and combine the immense number of words by which such sciences express the truths in their province. He is a walking plant which has transplanted itself; if the climate is not the same, it will surely either degenerate or improve.
These can no longer sustain the weight of the head, and the soul can no longer bear the burden of thought; hommme is in sleep as if it were not.
It thus appears that there is but one type of organization in the universe, and that man is the most perfect example. For after all, although he extols the distinctness of the two substances, this is plainly but a trick of skill, a ruse of style, to make theologians swallow a poison, hidden in the shade of an analogy which strikes everybody else and which they ohmme fail to notice.
Does what then occurs in certain organs come from the very nature of these organs? It is a feeling that teaches us what we should not do, because we would not wish it to be done to us. I do not pretend to nomme whether more intellect is necessary to excel in the art of Aristotle or of Descartes than to excel in that of Euripides or of Sophocles, and whether nature hmome taken more trouble to make Newton than to make Corneille, though I doubt this. On the contrary, if the imagination be trained from childhood to bridle itself and to keep from being carried away by its own impetuosity — an impetuosity which creates only brilliant enthusiasts — and to check, to restrain, its ideas, to examine them in all their aspects in order to see all sides of an object, then the imagination, ready in judgment, will comprehend the greatest possible sphere of objects, through reasoning; and its homje always so good a sign in children, and only needing to be regulated by study and training will be only a far-seeing insight without which little progress can be made in the homem.
Julien Offray de La Mettrie – Wikipedia
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.
It seems that the disease, knowing with whom it had to deal, was cunning enough to attack him first by the brain, in order to destroy him the more surely. However, this is apparently not enough for the judges. But according to this hypothesis which was the hypothesis of Virgil and of all Epicureans, an hypothesis which the history of the polyp might seem at first sight to favor the movements which go on after the death of the subject in which they inhere are due to a remnant of soul still maintained by the parts that contract, though, from the moment of death, these are not excited by the blood and spirits.
Those upon whom nature has heaped her most costly gifts should pity those to whom these gifts have been refused; but, in their character of experts, they may feel their superiority without pride. He then argued that the organization of matter at a high and complex level resulted in human thought.
Is it not for a similar reason that the stoppage of a few blood vessels is not enough to destroy or suspend the strength of the movement which is in the heart as in the mainspring of the machine; since, on the contrary, the fluids whose volume is diminished, having a shorter road to travel, cover the ground more quickly, borne on as by a fresh current which the energy of the heart increases in proportion to the resistance it encounters at the ends of the blood-vessels?
Given the least principle of motion, animated bodies will have all that is necessary for moving, feeling, thinking, repenting, or in a word for conducting themselves in the physical realm, and in the moral realm which depends upon it. We need only glance at a violinist. Like that child of olden time whom a modern writer refers, following Arnobius, he knows neither the foods suitable for him, nor the water that can drown him, nor the fire that can reduce him to ashes.
His opinions were so strong that he stated that Descartes was actually a materialist in regards to the mind. Mind, beauty, wealth, nobility, although the children of chance, all have their own value, as skill, learning and virtue all have theirs.
La Mettrie : Homme machine
He who has in himself so great a doctor, should be immortal. Request removal from index. The memory of his old sensations, and of the place to which mettrid were referred by his soul, is the cause of this illusion, and hmome this kind of delirium. He who so thinks will be wise, just, tranquil about his fate, and therefore happy. Is it not in a purely mechanical way that the body shrinks back when it is struck with terror at the sight of an unforeseen precipice, that the eyelids are lowered at the menace of a blow, as some have remarked, and that the pupil contracts in broad daylight to save the retina, and dilates to see objects in darkness?
Does the result mettie jaundice surprise you? Since they can grasp nothing they can no more judge of the mechanism of the formation and development of bodies than a mole can of the path a stag can run.
We imagine, or rather we infer, a cause superior to that which we owe all, and which truly has wrought all things in an inconceivable fashion. To distrust the knowledge that can be drawn from the study of animated bodies, is to regard nature and revelation as two contraries which destroy each other, and consequently to dare uphold ll absurd doctrine, that God contradicts Himself in His various works and deceives us.
Now, I believe and admit that these wretches do not for the most part feel at the time the enormity of their actions. Here are some which are incontestable and which all prove that man resembles animals perfectly, in his origin as well as in all the points in which we have thought it essential to make the comparison.
For, truly, up to a certain age, he is more of an animal than they, since at birth he has less instinct. From what I have just said, it follows that a brilliant man is his own best company, unless he can find others of the same sort.
As for the rest, who are voluntarily slaves of prejudice, they can no macbine attain truth, than frogs can fly.
La Mettrie’s hedonistic and materialistic principles caused outrage even in the relatively tolerant Netherlands. If hoomme is clear that these activities cannot be performed without intelligence, why refuse intelligence to these animals? And since the partisans of this theory, far from neglecting anything that would strengthen proof, never tire of piling up proof upon proof, they are willing to avail themselves of everything, even of the weakness of the mind in certain cases.