Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Vitalism: representatives of vitalism assumed that life is a kind of principle added to the non-living matter. This principle turns inorganic matter into organic matter. Aristotle had already adopted a principle of life by using his concept of entelecheia, which has its goal in itself.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 29
Appropriateness (before Kant).
"Protoplasm": a special substance that inanimate matter lacks.
I 31
Vitality, "élan vital".
Fluid: (no liquid)
Debate "Preformations/Epigenesis Theory 2nd half of the 18th century.
Preformationists: believed that the parts of an adult individual were already present in smaller form at the beginning of its development. (Caspar Friedrich Wolff refuted preformation, needed causal power "vis essentialis").
I 33
Epigenetics: assumed that they appeared as products of a development, not at the beginning. Blumenbach, rejected "vis essentialis" and spoke of "educational drive" that plays a role not only in the embryo but also in growth, regeneration and reproduction.
I 35
Selection theory: made vitalism superfluous: Haeckel:"We recognize in Darwin's selection the decisive proof for the exclusive effectiveness of mechanical causes in the entire field of biology... definitive end of all teleological and vitalistic interpretations of organisms".
I 35
Protoplasm: the search for it promoted a flourishing branch of chemistry: colloid chemistry. It was finally discovered that there is no protoplasm! Word and concept disappeared.
Life: it became possible to explain it by means of molecules and their organisation!
Organic/inorganic: in 1828 urea was synthesized: first proof of the artificial conversion of inorganic components into an organic molecule!
I 38
Vitalism: Strange phenomenon: among the physicists of the 20th century vitalistic ideas arose. Bohr: in organisms, certain laws could have an effect that cannot be found in inanimate matter.
Bohr looked in biology for evidence of its complementarity and drew on some desperate analogies.
MayrVsBohr: there is really nothing that can be considered.(Unclear only in the subatomic field).

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Mayr I
Ernst Mayr
This is Biology, Cambridge/MA 1997
German Edition:
Das ist Biologie Heidelberg 1998

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-09-26
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