Studies in the History of Modern Science

The Strategy of Life

Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth Century German Biology

Authors: Lenoir, T.

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About this book

Teleological thinking has been steadfastly resisted by modern biology. And yet, in nearly every area of research biologists are hard pressed to find language that does not impute purposiveness to living forms. The life of the individual organism, if not life itself, seems to make use of a variety of strate gems in achieving its purposes. But in an age when physical models dominate our imagination and when physics itself has become accustomed to uncertainty relations and complementarity, biologists have learned to live with a kind of schizophrenic language, employing terms like 'selfish genes' and 'survival machines' to describe the behavior of organisms as if they were somehow purposive yet all the while intending that they are highly complicated mechanisms. The present study treats a period in the history of the life sciences when the imputation of purposiveness to biological organization was not regarded an embarrassment but rather an accepted fact, and when the principal goal was to reap the benefits of mechanistic explanations by finding a. means of in­ corporating them within the guidelines of a teleological fmmework. Whereas the history of German biology in the early nineteenth century is usually dismissed as an unfortunate era dominated by arid speculation, the present study aims to reverse that judgment by showing that a consistent, workable program of research was elaborated by a well-connected group of German biologists and that it was based squarely on the unification of teleological and mechanistic models of explanation.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Lenoir, Timothy

    Pages 1-16

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • Vital Materialism

    Lenoir, Timothy

    Pages 17-53

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  • The Concrete Formulation of the Program: From Vital Materialism to Developmental Morphology

    Lenoir, Timothy

    Pages 54-111

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • Teleomechanism and the Cell Theory

    Lenoir, Timothy

    Pages 112-155

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • The Functional Morphologists

    Lenoir, Timothy

    Pages 156-194

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €

Buy this book

eBook 190,39 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-009-6951-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 239,20 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-90-277-1363-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
Softcover 207,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-009-6953-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Strategy of Life
Book Subtitle
Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth Century German Biology
Authors
Series Title
Studies in the History of Modern Science
Series Volume
13
Copyright
1982
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland
eBook ISBN
978-94-009-6951-3
DOI
10.1007/978-94-009-6951-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-90-277-1363-6
Softcover ISBN
978-94-009-6953-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 315
Topics