Man a Machine

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Man a Machine (French: L'homme Machine) is a work of materialist philosophy by the 18th-century French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie, first published in 1748. In this work, de la Mettrie extends Descartes' argument that animals were mere automatons or machines to human beings, denying the existence of the soul as a substance separate from matter.

Karl Popper discusses de la Mettrie's claim in relation to evolution and quantum mechanics.

"Yet the doctrine that man is a machine was argued most forcefully in 1751, long before the theory of evolution became generally accepted, by de La Mettrie; and the theory of evolution gave the problem an even sharper edge, by suggesting there may be no clear distinction between living matter and dead matter. And, in spite of the victory of the new quantum theory, and the conversion of so many physicists to indeterminism de La Mettrie's doctrine that man is a machine has perhaps more defenders than before among physicists, biologists and philosophers; especially in the form of the thesis that man is a computer."[1]

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  1. ^ Popper, K: Of Clouds and Cuckoos, included in Objective Knowledge, revised, 1978, p224.

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