La Mettrie: Medicine, Philosophy, and Enlightenment by Kathleen Wellman PDF

By Kathleen Wellman

ISBN-10: 0822312042

ISBN-13: 9780822312048

Julien Offray de los angeles Mettrie, most sensible often called the writer of L’Homme machine, appears to be like as a minor personality in such a lot bills of the Enlightenment. yet during this highbrow biography via Kathleen Wellman, l. a. Mettrie—physician-philosophe—emerges as a valuable determine whose clinical method of philosophical and ethical concerns had a profound effect at the interval and its legacy.
Wellman’s research offers los angeles Mettrie as an suggest of revolutionary clinical thought and perform who constantly utilized his clinical issues to the reform of philosophy, morals, and society. via studying his education with the Dutch surgeon Hermann Boerhaave, his satires lampooning the lack of awareness and venality of the clinical career, and his scientific treatises on topics starting from vertigo to veneral ailment, Wellman illuminates the scientific roots of l. a. Mettrie’s philosophy. She exhibits how medication inspired los angeles Mettrie to adopt an impiricist critique of the philosophical culture and supplied the root for a clinical materialism that either formed his realizing of the chances of ethical and social reform and led him to espouse the reason for the philosophers.
Elucidating the scientific view of nature, humans, and society that the Enlightenment and l. a. Mettrie particularly bequethed to the trendy global, La Mettrie makes a tremendous contribution to our realizing of either that interval and our own.

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However, the career of La Mettrie as a surgical polemicist and satirist suggests some connec tions; La Mettrie's personal involvement in the pamphlet war be tween the doctors and the surgeons led him to the cause of reform and to define himself as a philosophe. La Mettrie was a medical student in Paris from 1727 to 1731, during the period of intense pamphlet warfare provoked by the ordinance of 1724. Finding his Parisian medical education wanting, La Mettrie went to Leyden to study with Hermann Boerhaave.

In this period surgeons articulated a reformist view of medical practice and distinguished themselves, as the surgeons of Saint-Côme, both from less well educated and more unorthodox practitioners and from charlatans. The pamphlet war cannot be dismissed as simple wrangling based on professional jealousy, for it allowed the surgeons to articulate a medical philosophy and a program of education. The debate also had an impact beyond the sphere of Parisian medical practice: the surgeons, by identifying corporate privilege as an impediment to reform, had launched a political challenge which could not be ignored by contemporaries interested in reform in other areas.

In articulating their particular profes sional and educational goals, the surgeons allied themselves with the forces of progress such as the new science and the Enlighten ment. A Source of Medical Enlightenment 29 The subsequent royal ordinance of 1743 granted important con cessions to the surgeons: they were given the right to confer univer sity degrees and to approve degree candidates in surgery; they formed a lay faculty with the same stature as the other four within the university; and they gained the right to govern themselves with out any supervision or control by the Faculty of Medicine.

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La Mettrie: Medicine, Philosophy, and Enlightenment by Kathleen Wellman


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