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Philosophy - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science | Vitalism and the Scientific Image in Post-Enlightenment Life Science, 1800-2010

Vitalism and the Scientific Image in Post-Enlightenment Life Science, 1800-2010

Normandin, Sebastian, Wolfe, Charles T. (Eds.)

2013, VI, 377 p. 5 illus.

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  • First comprehensive overview of Vitalism: an idea with ever increasing relevance to modern biological theory
  • Comprehensive overview of multi- and trans- disciplinary approaches
  • Combination of historical and contemporary analysis

Vitalism is understood as impacting the history of the life sciences, medicine and philosophy, representing an epistemological challenge to the dominance of mechanism over the last 200 years, and partly revived with organicism in early theoretical biology. The contributions in this volume portray the history of vitalism from the end of the Enlightenment to the modern day, suggesting some reassessment of what it means both historically and conceptually. As such it includes a wide range of material, employing both historical and philosophical methodologies, and it is divided fairly evenly between 19th and 20th century historical treatments and more contemporary analysis. This volume presents a significant contribution to the current literature in the history and philosophy of science and the history of medicine.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Emergent Evolution - Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire - Homeostasis and vitalist roots of adaptation - Jean-Baptiste Lamarck - Lamarck - Life and the Mind in Nineteenth-Century Britain - Life as an Emergent Phenomenon - Rethinking Organic Vitality in Germany - The Origins of Canguilhem’s Vitalism - Vitalism and the Organismic Approach - Vitalism versus Emergent Materialism - Vitalists’ Objections to Mechanistic Science - Wilhelm Reich - holism - lineage and metabolism - mechanism - reductionism - teleology - vitalism - vitalist themes

Related subjects » Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - History of Science - Medicine

Table of contents 

Introduction.- Part I. Revisiting vitalist themes in 19th-century science.- 1. Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute); Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the Place of Irritability in the History of Life and Death.- 2. Joan Steigerwald (York); Rethinking Organic Vitality in Germany at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century.- 3. Juan Rigoli (Geneva); The ‘Novel of Medicine’.- 4. Sean Dyde (Cambridge); Life and Mind in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Somaticist 'Mind' and Body after the Death of Phrenology.- Part II. Twentieth century debates on vitalism in science and philosophy.- 5. Brian Garrett (McMaster); Vitalism versus Emergent Materialism.- 6. Christophe Malaterre (Paris); Life as an Emergent Phenomenon: From an Alternative to Vitalism to an Alternative to Reductionism.-  7. Sebastian Normandin (Montreal); Wilhelm Reich: Vitalism and Its Discontents.- 8. Chiara Elettra Ferrario (Wellington) and Luigi Corsi (Pisa); Kurt Goldstein: Vitalism and the Organismic Approach.- 9. Giuseppe Bianco (Paris/Warwick); The Origins of Canguilhem’s “Vitalism”: Against the Anthropology of Irritation.- Part III. Vitalism and contemporary biological developments.- 10. J. Scott Turner (Syracuse); Homeostasis and the forgotten vitalist roots of adaptation.- 11. Carlos Sonnenschein, David Lee, Jonathan Nguyen and Ana Soto (Tufts); Unanticipated trends stemming from the history of cell culture: Vitalism in 2012?.- 12. John Dupré and Maureen O’Malley (Exeter); Varieties of living things: Life at the intersection of lineage and metabolism.- 13. William Bechtel (UCSD); Dynamic Mechanistic Explanation: Addressing the Vitalists’ Objections to Mechanistic Science.

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