The Philosophy of Human Body: Malebranche and La Mettrie
AbstractThe article considers Malebranche's and La Mettrie's philosophy of human body. According to Malebranche, the soul is not only distinct from the body it animates but also external to it. However, the soul does not know that it is not its body and that it could exist without it, because God deliberately keeps it ignorant of its true nature. The reason for God's withholding the idea of its true nature from the soul is for it to preserve the body it animates. If the idea of its true nature were accessible to it, the soul would no longer look after the body that God has ordered it to preserve. It is, then, only because it mistakenly takes itself to be its body that the soul looks after its preservation. Thus, in Malebranche's radical spiritualism, the soul is forced to act in exactly the same way as the soul in La Mettrie's radical materialism.
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