David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Matthew Landers & Brian Muñoz (eds.), Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500-1850. Pickering and Chatto (2012)
The materialist approach to the body is often, if not always understood in ‘mechanistic’ terms, as the view in which the properties unique to organic, living embodied agents are reduced to or described in terms of properties that characterize matter as a whole, which allow of mechanistic explanation. Indeed, from Hobbes and Descartes in the 17th century to the popularity of automata such as Vaucanson’s in the 18th century, this vision of things would seem to be correct. In this paper I aim to correct this inaccurate vision of materialism. On the contrary, the materialist project on closer consideration reveals itself to be, significantly if not exclusively, (a) a body of theories specifically focused on the contribution that ‘biology’ or rather ‘natural history’ and physiology make to metaphysical debates, (b) much more intimately connected to what we now call ‘vitalism’ (a case in point is the presence of Théophile de Bordeu, a prominent Montpellier physician and theorist of vitalism, as a fictional character and spokesman of materialism, in Diderot’s novel D’Alembert’s Dream), and ultimately (c) an anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. To establish this revised vision of materialism I examine philosophical texts such as La Mettrie’s Man a Machine and Diderot’s D’Alembert’s Dream; medical entries in the Encyclopédie by physicians such as Ménuret and Fouquet; and clandestine combinations of all such sources (Fontenelle, Gaultier and others).
|Keywords||materialism embodiment Diderot, La Mettrie|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Charles T. Wolfe (2014). Sensibility as Vital Force or as Property of Matter in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Debates. In Henry Martyn Lloyd (ed.), The Discourse of Sensibility: The Knowing Body in the Enlightenment. Springer. 147-170.
Charles T. Wolfe (2010). Endowed Molecules and Emergent Organization : The Maupertuis-Diderot Debate. In Tobias Cheung (ed.), Transitions and Borders Between Animals, Humans, and Machines, 1600-1800. Brill. 38-65.
la Mettrie & Julien Offray (1996). Machine Man and Other Writings. Cambridge University Press.
Charles T. Wolfe (2005). “The Materialist Denial of Monsters”. In Charles Wolfe (ed.), Monsters and Philosophy. 187--204.
Dean W. Zimmerman (1999). The Compatibility of Materialism and Survival. Faith and Philosophy 16 (2):194-212.
Charles T. Wolfe (2010). Rethinking Empiricism and Materialism: The Revisionist View. Annales Philosophici 1 (1):101-113.
Charles T. Wolfe (2008). Vitalism Without Metaphysics? Medical Vitalism in the Enlightenment. Science in Context 21 (4):461-463.
Manuel A. Vásquez (2010). More Than Belief: A Materialist Theory of Religion. Oxford University Press.
Charles T. Wolfe, Teleomechanism Redux? The Conceptual Hybridity of Living Machines in Early Modern Natural Philosophy.
Manuel de Vega (1997). Embodiment in Language-Based Memory: Some Qualifications. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):22-23.
Aram Vartanian (1983). La Mettrie and Diderot Revisited: An Intertextual Encounter. Diderot Studies 21:155 - 197.
Neven Leddy & Avi Lifschitz (eds.) (2009). Epicurus in the Enlightenment. Voltaire Foundation.
Charles T. Wolfe (2009). “Cabinet d'Histoire Naturelle,” Or: The Interplay of Nature and Artifice in Diderot's Naturalism. Perspectives on Science 17 (1):pp. 58-77.
Added to index2012-05-08
Total downloads147 ( #4,843 of 1,096,446 )
Recent downloads (6 months)40 ( #1,768 of 1,096,446 )
How can I increase my downloads?