Monday, September 6, 2010

Charles Wolfe public lecture on La Mettrie

Dr Charles Wolfe, History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Science


Julien Offray de La Mettrie, a medical doctor and philosopher was born in Saint-Malo (Brittany) in 1709, and died in 1751 in Berlin, where he was an intellectual-in-residence at Frederick II’s court ... of indigestion, food poisoning, or acute peritonitis after having consumed a whole pheasant pasty with truffles. He had been forced to flee from France and then even from Holland because of his writings, and was one of the most scandalous figures of the Enlightenment. I will focus especially on his best-known work, L’Homme-Machine or Man a Machine (1748), one of the greatest examples of materialist philosophy ever written - in which mind and body are explained as belonging to one material substance, which medical and physiological knowledge sheds light on. How is it that a philosopher admired today by all manner of ‘brain scientists’ was also the hero of the Marquis de Sade? Addressing this sort of question gets us to the heart of Enlightenment materialism.

All are welcome to attend this free series.

Venue: Lecture Theatre 101, Sydney Law School Building, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus
Time: 6.00pm to 7.30 (includes Q & A)
Bookings: Free events, no registration or booking required

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