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Diderot and medical vitalism: a materialist anthropology

Grant number: 23/04966-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2023
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Pedro Paulo Garrido Pimenta
Grantee:Caio Morello Labate
Supervisor: Colas Duflo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (Paris 10), France  
Associated to the scholarship:21/13099-1 - The Medicine of populations in Diderot & d'Alembert' s Encyclopedia, BP.IC


This research internship at the Litt&Phi laboratory of the University Paris Nanterre is a fundamental part of our research work in Brazil, where we analyse the relationship between Diderot's materialist philosophy of nature and the vitalist medicine of the Encyclopédie. We are particularly interested in the medical injunctions within the field of morals as a philosophical consequence of these relationships. Our study follows several remarks in the literature that draw attention to the development of an "anthropology" in Diderot's work, as well as in vitalist medical thought, which the 18th century understood as a general theory of man linking the moral and the physical. Thus, the objective of this internship is to investigate the way in which the articulation between materialism and physiology is mobilized in Diderot's reflections on morality and manners, in which we will seek to show how the philosopher conceptualizes health as a physiological foundation for these elements of social experience. To do this, our analysis will focus on the Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville (written in 1776), which will follow our study of the Rêve de D'Alembert (1769). The supervision of Colas Duflo, professor at the University Paris Nanterre and one of the leading researchers on Diderot's philosophy in France today, will be essential for this work to be carried out successfully. In addition, academic exchange with the Litt&Phi team, led by Duflo, will greatly enrich our research, allowing us to discuss our work process and results with notable specialists in Enlightenment philosophy. Finally and most importantly, our study of Diderot and the Encyclopédie will benefit from tremendous depth thanks to the realization of bibliographic research in the vast Parisian research libraries and specialized bookstores. This will broaden the relevance and originality of our literature review, as several crucial works in the investigation of eighteenth-century philosophy at the international level are still unavailable in Brazil. (AU)

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