Mandeville’s Medical Materialism – Reading Session



Bernard Mandeville reading group [5 June 2024]

Led by Charles Wolfe (Université Toulouse).


This reading session will look at Bernard Mandeville’s Treatise of the Hypochondriack and Hysterick Diseases (1711, revised edition 1730), with two main points of focus: his ‘medical materialism’, and his ‘feminist materialism’. The former includes issues like mechanism / iatromechanism, chymistry, animal spirits, etc. For the Treatise is many things at once, including a satire of professional physicians, a methodological critique of some prominent medical doctrines, and the expression of an original kind of materialism that one can term medical materialism (cf. my recent entry on early modern medical materialism in the Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences I coedited w. D. Jalobeanu). The feminist materialist focus includes the title topics of hypochondria and hysteria, and is extremely unusual for the time (it also brings in other texts of Mandeville’s). Time allowing, I may contrast Mandeville with major figures of French materialism like La Mettrie and Diderot, who share a lot of the former with him (i.e. medical materialism), and unfortunately little or barely any of the latter (i.e. feminist materialism).


Participants: Places are limited (max. 10 persons). Please contact the NOTCOM project manager to sign up: The PDF will be distributed to attendants.

Location: Maison Française d’Oxford. Notcom offices.

Time: 2-4pm.

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
adminnotcom (May 27, 2024). Mandeville’s Medical Materialism – Reading Session. NOTCOM. Retrieved July 22, 2024 from

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