La Mettri’s Understanding of Materialism (Materialism, Machine-Man)June 28, 2021
La Mettri is a philosopher recognized as the founder of Fanless materialism. His most important works are “Natural History of the Soul” and “Machine Man”. La Mettrie is a French materialist philosopher who lived in the 18th century, and a thinker who gained great fame thanks to his “Natural History of the Spirit” and “Machine-Man” works.
He argued in his philosophy that there is no spirit independent of matter, and that what actually exists is only matter. In other words, in nature there is nothing but matter and its movements. According to La Mettrie, there is no fundamental difference between man and animal, or between plant and metal. They differ only in quantity.
An animal is a being without a soul, capable of perceiving and even judging only by virtue of its nervous system and brain. The difference between humans and animals is that their brain is a little more developed. This is the quantitative difference. According to him, there is no difference between thinking, perceiving, feeling and being a machine. In this sense, he thought of man as a machine.
La Mettrie; He wanted to prove Descartes’ views that animals do not have souls, that they are machines like clocks, that a spiritual understanding of the human soul is unnecessary, and that man is a machine, and he carried out studies in this direction.
According to him, what really exists, namely “substance”, is completely matter. Animals and humans are beings of the same nature; For this reason, it is unnecessary to accept the existence of a soul beyond the body in man.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook