David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Victor Boantza Marcelo Dascal (ed.), Controversies in the Scientific Revolution. John Benjamins (2011)
Well prior to the invention of the term ‘biology’ in the early 1800s by Lamarck and Treviranus, and also prior to the appearance of terms such as ‘organism’ under the pen of Leibniz in the early 1700s, the question of ‘Life’, that is, the status of living organisms within the broader physico-mechanical universe, agitated different corners of the European intellectual scene. From modern Epicureanism to medical Newtonianism, from Stahlian animism to the discourse on the ‘animal economy’ in vitalist medicine, models of living being were constructed in opposition to ‘merely anatomical’, structural, mechanical models. It is therefore curious to turn to the ‘passion play’ of the Scientific Revolution – whether in its early, canonical definitions or its more recent, hybridized, reconstructed and expanded versions: from Koyré to Biagioli, from Merton to Shapin – and find there a conspicuous absence of worry over what status to grant living beings in a newly physicalized universe. Neither Harvey, nor Boyle, nor Locke (to name some likely candidates, the latter having studied with Willis and collaborated with Sydenham) ever ask what makes organisms unique, or conversely, what does not. In this paper I seek to establish how ‘Life’ became a source of contention in early modern thought, and how the Scientific Revolution missed the controversy.
|Keywords||Life, vitalism biology Stahl, Boyle, Diderot|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Domenico Bertoloni Meli (2013). Early Modern Experimentation on Live Animals. Journal of the History of Biology 46 (2):199-226.
Similar books and articles
Steven P. R. Rose (2003). Lifelines: Life Beyond the Gene. Oxford University Press.
Mariam Fraser, Sarah Kember & Celia Lury (eds.) (2006). Inventive Life: Approaches to the New Vitalism. Sage.
Christophe Malaterre (2009). Can Synthetic Biology Shed Light on the Origin of Life? Biological Theory 4 (4):357-367.
Anna Deplazes-Zemp (2012). The Conception of Life in Synthetic Biology. Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (4):757-774.
Michael J. Denton, Govindasamy Kumaramanickavel & Michael Legge (2013). Cells as Irreducible Wholes: The Failure of Mechanism and the Possibility of an Organicist Revival. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):31-52.
Matthew L. Jones (2006). The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution: Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz and the Cultivation of Virtue. University of Chicago Press.
Charles T. Wolfe (2010). Do Organisms Have an Ontological Status? History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (2-3):195-232.
Walter M. Elsasser (1987/1998). Reflections on a Theory of Organisms: Holism in Biology. Published for the Johns Hopkins Dept. Of Earth and Planetary Sciences by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
Geert Jan M. Klerk (1979). Mechanism and Vitalism. A History of the Controversy. Acta Biotheoretica 28 (1).
Added to index2009-11-25
Total downloads120 ( #9,454 of 1,140,113 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #47,589 of 1,140,113 )
How can I increase my downloads?