La Mettrie, Julien Offroy de


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 behaviourism and played an important part in the history of modern Materialism.

      La Mettrie obtained a medical degree at Reims, studied medicine in Leiden under Hermann Boerhaave (some of whose works he translated into French), and served as surgeon to the French military. A personal illness convinced him that psychic phenomena were directly related to organic changes in the brain and nervous system. The outcry following publication of these views in Histoire naturelle de l'âme (1745; “Natural History of the Soul”) forced his departure from Paris. The book was burned by the public hangman. In Holland La Mettrie published L'Homme-machine (1747; L'Homme Machine: A Study in the Origins of an Idea, 1960), developing more boldly and completely, and with great originality, his Materialistic and atheistic views. The ethics of these principles were worked out in Discours sur le bonheur ou l'anti-Sénèque (“Discourse on Happiness, or the Anti-Seneca”). He was then forced to leave Holland but was welcomed in Berlin (1748) by Frederick the Great, made court reader, and appointed to the academy of science. In accord with his belief that atheism was the sole road to happiness and the pleasure of the senses the purpose of life (Le Petit Homme à longue queue, 1751; “The Small Man in a Long Queue”), he was a carefree hedonist to the end, finally dying of ptomaine poisoning. His collected works, Oeuvres philosophiques, were published in 1751, and selections were edited by Marcelle Tisserand in 1954.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 …   Philosophy dictionary

  • 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

  • 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


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.