By Jennifer Michael Hecht

ISBN-10: 0231502389

ISBN-13: 9780231502382

On October 19, 1876 a bunch of prime French voters, either women and men incorporated, joined jointly to shape an strange workforce, The Society of Mutual post-mortem, with the purpose of proving that souls don't exist. the belief used to be that, after loss of life, they'd dissect each other and (hopefully) exhibit an instantaneous dating among mind sizes and styles and the nature, talents and intelligence of people. This unusual clinical pact, and certainly what now we have come to think about as anthropology, which the group's participants helped to enhance, had its genesis in competitive, evangelical atheism.
With this team as its concentration, the tip of the Soul is a research of technological know-how and atheism in France in past due 19th and early 20th centuries. It exhibits that anthropology grew within the context of an impassioned fight among the forces of culture, specially the Catholic religion, and people of a extra freethinking modernism, and additionally that it grew to become for lots of a mundane faith. one of the adherents of this new religion mentioned listed below are the novelist Emile Zola, the nice statesman Leon Gambetta, the yank contraception recommend Margaret Sanger, and Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Sherlock Holmes embodied the triumph of ratiocination over credulity.

Boldly argued, choked with colourful characters and sometimes weird and wonderful battles over technological know-how and religion, this ebook represents an enormous contribution to the heritage of technological know-how and eu highbrow heritage

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Example text

I insist, thus, that my autopsy will immediately follow my death, if I die either in Paris or in the Department of the Seine, and that the cost of this will be paid by my inheritors. If my death takes place in another area, then I charge my daughter-in-law, Eugènie Véron, to accomplish my will by arranging for a doctor (preferably the one that assisted me during my final illness) to extract my brain, place it in alcohol, and send it to the rue de l’Ecole de médecine—the location of the society.

Letourneau’s speech also gives insight into the cathectic purpose of these reports and eulogies. ”This was an inspirational tale for the reader of the journal who was not likely to find such praise elsewhere, but, especially for the anthropologists, there was also a cautionary subtext here. This pressure was surely private in many of its guises, but for the anthropologists it was exacerbated by the promise (and fear) of publication and the sense of permanence and remembrance that publication represented in an otherwise ephemeral world.

I insist, thus, that my autopsy will immediately follow my death, if I die either in Paris or in the Department of the Seine, and that the cost of this will be paid by my inheritors. If my death takes place in another area, then I charge my daughter-in-law, Eugènie Véron, to accomplish my will by arranging for a doctor (preferably the one that assisted me during my final illness) to extract my brain, place it in alcohol, and send it to the rue de l’Ecole de médecine—the location of the society.

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The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology in France by Jennifer Michael Hecht


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