From Big Medical Encyclopedia

LAMETRI Julien (Julien Offrey de la Mettrie, 1709 — 1751) — the French doctor, the philosopher materialist, the member of the Berlin academy of Sciences (1748).


In 1733 ended medical f-t Parisian un-that, then it was improved in Leiden un-those (Holland) where under the influence of G. Burkhava becomes the convinced materialist and the supporter of a clinical method in medicine.

Having been returned in 1735 to France, Zh. Lametri translates and publishes in fr. language the major works to G. Burkhava, publishes the works about veins. diseases, smallpox and other diseases. In numerous lampoons of Zh. Lametri ruthlessly derides scholastic teaching medicine, a condition of iatrotechnics and charlatanism of doctors, making thereby numerous enemies. As opposed to various idealistic medical doctrines of Zh. Lametri notes close interrelation of mentality and a body. In the first philosophical work «Natural History of Soul» or, otherwise, «The treatise about soul» (1745) Zh. Lametri writes: «If everything in an organism can be explained with what is opened by anatomy and physiology, then to what to recognize existence of soul». Developing Aristotle's ideas about plurality of forms of matter, Zh. Lametri describes different types of its organization, including corporal, considering nek-ry mechanical force as their fundamental principle. Public burning of the «ungodly» and «harmful» book, and also the threatening arrest force Zh. Lametri to leave in 1746 to Holland where it still continues uncompromising fight against scholasticism and idealism in medicine. Developing R. Descartes's concept about an animal car, he publishes the book «Person car» in 1747. In this book according to logic of the forming empirical natural sciences it comes to mechanistic ideas of the nature of living beings, assimilating them, including the person, to cars. Analyzing extensive natural-science material, in the work «Person car» he introduces the idea of unity of wildlife and gradual improvement of living beings, approaching thereby the ideas of evolution.

This materialistic composition of Zh. Lametri, objectionable to clergy, was burned. The threat of the death penalty forces Zh. Lametri to flee in 1747 from Holland to Germany where it finds a shelter at the king Frederick II. Here one by one its new philosophical and medical works are published: «Person plant» (1748), «Is more than people than the car» (1748), «Epicurus's System» (1751), etc. In 1751 in attempt to recover independently from poisoning with bloodletting he dies.

Value of works of Zh. Lametri in development of natural-science and philosophical thought was for the first time estimated in 1844 by K. Marx who showed that the doctor Zh. Lametri is «the center of school of the French materialists of 18 century» (K. Marx and F. Engels, Compositions, 2 prod., t. 2, page 140). Zh. Lametri for the first time proved materialism by natural-science data. He opposed conservatism in medicine, religionism in natural sciences. His ideas exerted considerable impact on many outstanding representatives of a clinical and natural-science thought of the first half of 19 century; physiologists Ch. Bell, F. Marangdi, clinical physicians Zh. Kryuvelye, Zh. Korvizar, R. Laennek, G. Dyupyuitren, G. Andral and many others scooped the theoretical views generally from this source. Zh. Lametri is scientist-fighter played a significant role in development of science.

Works: L’homme machine, Ley de, 1748, Princeton, 1960; Lametri Zh. O. Compositions, the lane with fr., M., 1976.

Bibliography: Boguslavsky B. M. The scientist, the thinker, the fighter, in book: Lametri Zh. O. Compositions, the lane with fr., page 5, M., 1976; Voronizyn I. P. La Mettri, Kharkiv, 1925; With e p e of N and-kov V. K. Lametri, M., 1925.

A. G. Spirkin, V. I. Tyshchenko.