Vitalism and Its Legacy in Twentieth Century Life Sciences and Philosophy

Springer Verlag (2022)
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Abstract

This Open Access book combines philosophical and historical analysis of various forms of alternatives to mechanism and mechanistic explanation, focusing on the 19th century to the present. It addresses vitalism, organicism and responses to materialism and its relevance to current biological science. In doing so, it promotes dialogue and discussion about the historical and philosophical importance of vitalism and other non-mechanistic conceptions of life. It points towards the integration of genomic science into the broader history of biology. It details a broad engagement with a variety of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century vitalisms and conceptions of life. In addition, it discusses important threads in the history of concepts in the United States and Europe, including charting new reception histories in eastern and south-eastern Europe. While vitalism, organicism and similar epistemologies are often the concern of specialists in the history and philosophy of biology and of historians of ideas, the range of the contributions as well as the geographical and temporal scope of the volume allows for it to appeal to the historian of science and the historian of biology generally.

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Charles T. Wolfe
Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès

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