"Man is a machine so compound, that it is impossible to form at first a clear idea thereof, and consequently to define it. This is the reason, that all the enquiries the philosophers have made a priori, that is, by endeavouring to raise themselves on the wings of the understanding have proved ineffectual."
— Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751)
Text from Man a Machine. Translated from the French of the Marquiss D'Argens. (London: Printed for W. Owen, 1749). <Link to ECCO>
Reading Man a Machine and Man a Plant, trans. Richard A. Watson and Maya Rybalka (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994). Translation based on version from La Mettrie's Oeuvres philosophiques (Berlin: 1751).