Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis Bibliography

Discours sur les différentes figures des astres 1732
Visiting London in 1728 Maupertuis abandoned Cartesian for Newtonian science. The Discours was the first of several defences of Newton, in fact, the first book by a Frenchmen to accept and expound Newton’s theory of gravitation, and it helped to spread his ideas in France.
Théorie de la figure de la terre 1743
Venus physique 1745
A defence of an immanent God, and an application of mechanistic ideas to counter pre-formation theory. During the 1740’s the argument from design seem to acquire confirmation from discoveries in biology and zoology. For example, the Swiss scientist Trembley showed how the freshwater polyp seemed to have the properties of both an animal and a plant in being able to generate itself. This discovery, in conjunction with other developments, led to a view of nature as self-generating, having its own internal dynamism.
Essai de philosophie morale 1749
“A famous author, reckoning up the good and evil of human life, and comparing the aggregates, finds that our pains greatly exceed our pleasures: so that, all things considered, human life is not at all a valuable gift. This conclusion does not surprise me; for the writer drew all his arguments from man in civilization.” (Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality).
Essai de cosmologie 1750
After the publication of the Essai Maupertuis became involved in arguments with Samuel Konig, Haller and with Voltaire who satirized him in his Micromegas (1752).
Dissertatio inauguralis metaphysica de universali naturae systemate. 1751
Maupertius was President of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. The Dissertatio first appeared under the pseudonym of Baumann. It appeared in French in 1754 under the title Essai sur la formation des corps organises, and then under the title Système de la nature in the 1756 edition of Maupertius’s Oeuvres. It was a work of major importance in the development of the theory of evolution, “the first complete formulation of a general theory of transformism”, (Diderot).

Maupertius’s ideas regarding the self-organizing capacity of matter and the “prototype” which undergoes “successive metamorphoses” occupied an important place in Diderot’s Pensees sur l’interpretation de la nature.
Dissertation sur les differents moyens dont les hommes se sont servis pour exprimer leurs idees 1755
In this lecture of 13 May Maupertuis argued that language originally sprang from human needs and developed from gestures and natural cries.
Examen philosophique de la preuve de l’existence de Dieu employee l’essai de cosmologie 1756