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  1. Metaphysics, Function and the Engineering of Life: The Problem of Vitalism.Charles T. Wolfe, Bohang Chen & Cécilia Bognon-Küss - 2018 - Kairos 20 (1):113-140.
    Vitalism was long viewed as the most grotesque view in biological theory: appeals to a mysterious life-force, Romantic insistence on the autonomy of life, or worse, a metaphysics of an entirely living universe. In the early twentieth century, attempts were made to present a revised, lighter version that was not weighted down by revisionary metaphysics: “organicism”. And mainstream philosophers of science criticized Driesch and Bergson’s “neovitalism” as a too-strong ontological commitment to the existence of certain entities or “forces”, over and (...)
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  • Reasoning in Life: Values and Normativity in Georges Canguilhem.Gabriele Vissio - 2020 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 33 (4):1019-1031.
    This paper aims at giving an account of the philosophy of norms of Georges Canguilhem in the framework of his philosophical vitalism. According to Canguilhem, vitalism is not a metaphysical or ontological theory, but rather a general attitude or a perspective about life and living beings, both understood employing the axiological concept of ‘normativity’. This notion allows Canguilhem to enlarge the concept of life beyond the field of biological phenomena, encompassing also phenomena of the social world, included technique and scientific (...)
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  • The Medical Theory of Richard Koch II: Natural Philosophy and History. [REVIEW]F. Töpfer & U. Wiesing - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (3):323-334.
    Richard Koch1 became known in the 1920s with works on basic medical theory. Among these publications, the character of medical action and its status within the theory of science was presented as the most important theme. While science is inherently driven by the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, medicine pursues the practical purpose of helping the sick. Therefore, medicine must be seen as an active relationship between a helping and a suffering person. While elucidating this relationship, Koch discusses (...)
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  • Reproduction Versus Metamorphosis: Hegel and the Evolutionary Thinking of His Time.Márcio Suzuki - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-22.
    Several problems with Hegel’s conception of the organism in the Encyclopaedia are due to the separation between individual life in Nature and the universal life of the Concept. This discontinuity between ontogenesis and phylogenesis in his dialectics of organic life will be studied here by following his presentation of physiological development, especially reproduction, and by reconstructing the historical model he criticizes—Leibniz’s organic machines and their development in Buffon’s Natural History—a model that was also of crucial importance to the philosophy of (...)
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  • Simple Animals and Complex Biology: Von Uexküll’s Two-Fold Influence on Cassirer’s Philosophy.Frederik Stjernfelt - 2011 - Synthese 179 (1):169-186.
    It is a well-known fact that Ernst Cassirer was inspired by his colleague, the biologist Jakob von Uexkiill at the university of Hamburg. This paper claims this inspiration was double—affecting both Cassirer's philosophical anthropology and Cassirer's epistemology of biology, but in two rather different ways. Thus, the paper intends to shed light on a corner of the history of the development of German thought of the interwar period. It may also have an actual interest because both Cassirer and Uexkiill enjoy, (...)
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  • Der Kampf Um Die Autonomie Des Lebens.Joachim Metallmann - 1939 - Acta Biotheoretica 5 (1):1-10.
    During the last thirty years, both the mechanism and the vitalism has undergone remarkable changes. While the former, persisting in the strictly mechanistic thesis, has grown independent of its ancient antiteleological attitude, the latter, overcome as the doctrine of “entelechy”, has turned out fruitful owing to its other component, i.e. to the idea of autonomy of life. To-day, then, the contention takes place between two totally different points of view, between “machinism” and “autonomism”. Both interpretations of life are equally theories, (...)
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  • Kurt Gödel's Anticipation of the Turing Machine: A Vitalistic Approach.Tim Lethen - 2020 - History and Philosophy of Logic 41 (3):252-264.
    In 1935/1936 Kurt Gödel wrote three notebooks on the foundations of quantum mechanics, which have now been entirely transcribed for the first time. Whereas a lot of the material is rather technical in character, many of Gödel's remarks have a philosophical background and concentrate on Leibnizian monadology as well as on vitalism. Obviously influenced by the vitalistic writings of Hans Driesch and his ‘proofs’ for the existence of an entelechy in every living organism, Gödel briefly develops the idea of a (...)
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  • Zwischen der „Physik Des Organischen” Und der „Organisierung der Physik”: Überlegungen Zu Gegenstand Und Methode der Biologie. [REVIEW]Kristian Köchy - 1999 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 30 (1):59 - 85.
    Between Physics of Organism and Organismic Physics: Object and Method of Biology. In the history of biological theory one can observe an oscillation between two tendencies of thinking, namely the biologistic and the physicalistic point of view. Both aim at a general or unified theory of nature that is relevant for scientific research as well as for philosophical reflection. In terms of a pluralistic approach these two ways of theory-formation must be rejected. Biology e.g. as a specific natural science, characterized (...)
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  • Mechanism and Vitalism. A History of the Controversy.Geert Jan M. De Klerk - 1979 - Acta Biotheoretica 28 (1):1-10.
    This is an attempt to interpret the history of mechanism vs. vitalism in relation to the changing framework of culture and to show the interrelation between both these views and experimental science. After the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, causal mechanism of classical physics provided the framework for the study of nature. The teleological and holistic properties of life, however, which are incompatible with this theory yielded — as a result both of internal developments within biology and of a (...)
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  • Vitalism, Holism, and Metaphorical Dynamics of Hans Spemann’s “Organizer” in the Interwar Period.Christina Brandt - 2022 - Journal of the History of Biology 55 (2):285-320.
    This paper aims to provide a fresh historical perspective on the debates on vitalism and holism in Germany by analyzing the work of the zoologist Hans Spemann in the interwar period. Following up previous historical studies, it takes the controversial question about Spemann’s affinity to vitalistic approaches as a starting point. The focus is on Spemann’s holistic research style, and on the shifting meanings of Spemann’s concept of an organizer. It is argued that the organizer concept unfolded multiple layers of (...)
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  • Holism Vs. Reductionism: Do Ecosystem Ecology and Landscape Ecology Clarify the Debate?Donato Bergandi & Patrick Blandin - 1998 - Acta Biotheoretica 46 (3):185-206.
    The holism-reductionism debate, one of the classic subjects of study in the philosopy of science, is currently at the heart of epistemological concerns in ecology. Yet the division between holism and reductionism does not always stand out clearly in this field. In particular, almost all work in ecosystem ecology and landscape ecology presents itself as holistic and emergentist. Nonetheless, the operational approaches used rely on conventional reductionist methodology.From an emergentist epistemological perspective, a set of general 'transactional' principles inspired by the (...)
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  • Philosophy of Developmental Biology.Marcel Weber - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    The history of developmental biology is interwoven with debates as to whether mechanistic explanations of development are possible or whether alternative explanatory principles or even vital forces need to be assumed. In particular, the demonstrated ability of embryonic cells to tune their developmental fate precisely to their relative position and the overall size of the embryo was once thought to be inexplicable in mechanistic terms. Taking a causal perspective, this Element examines to what extent and how developmental biology, having turned (...)
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  • Neowitalistyczna koncepcja życia Piotra Lenartowicza.Mirosław Twardowski - 2015 - Studia Z Historii Filozofii 6 (2):83-100.
    W swym fundamentalnym dziele Krytyka władzy sądzenia Immanuel Kant podejmuje problem relacji opisu przyczynowego i teologicznego. Z tą kwestią wiąże trwający od wieków spór między mechanicyzmem a witalizmem. Kant, choć nie był witalistą we właściwym znaczeniu tego słowa, podkreślał konieczność zastosowania metody teleologicznej w opisie pochodzenia, rozwoju i funkcji organizmów żywych. Liczni polscy filozofowie, wraz z ostatnio zmarłym jezuitą Piotrem Lenartowiczem, odwoływali się do Kantowskiej dedukcji związku przyczynowo-skutkowego. W niniejszym artykule podejmiemy próbę przedstawienia Kantowskiej inspiracji w neowitalistycznej koncepcji życia autorstwa (...)
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  • Die Architektur der Synthese. Entstehung und Philosophie der modernen Evolutionstheorie.Marcel Weber - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Konstanz
    This Ph.D. thesis provides a pilosophical account of the structure of the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and 40s. The first, more historical part analyses how classical genetics came to be integrated into evolutionary thinking, highlighting in particular the importance of chromosomal mapping of Drosophila strains collected in the wild by Dobzansky, but also the work of Goldschmidt, Sumners, Timofeeff-Ressovsky and others. The second, more philosophical part attempts to answer the question wherein the unity of the synthesis consisted. I argue (...)
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