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On the role of Newtonian analogies in eighteenth-century life science:Vitalism and provisionally inexplicable explicative devices

In Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Newton and Empiricism. Oxford University Press. pp. 223-261 (2014)

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  1. Vitalism and the Resistance to Experimentation on Life in the Eighteenth Century.Charles Wolfe - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (2):255-282.
    There is a familiar opposition between a ‘Scientific Revolution’ ethos and practice of experimentation, including experimentation on life, and a ‘vitalist’ reaction to this outlook. The former is often allied with different forms of mechanism – if all of Nature obeys mechanical laws, including living bodies, ‘iatromechanism’ should encounter no obstructions in investigating the particularities of animal-machines – or with more chimiatric theories of life and matter, as in the ‘Oxford Physiologists’. The latter reaction also comes in different, perhaps irreducibly (...)
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  • A non-metaphysical evaluation of vitalism in the early twentieth century.Bohang Chen - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (3):50.
    In biology the term “vitalism” is usually associated with Hans Driesch’s doctrine of the entelechy: entelechies were nonmaterial, bio-specific agents responsible for governing a few peculiar biological phenomena. Since vitalism defined as such violates metaphysical materialism, the received view refutes the doctrine of the entelechy as a metaphysical heresy. But in the early twentieth century, a different, non-metaphysical evaluation of vitalism was endorsed by some biologists and philosophers, which finally led to a logical refutation of the doctrine of the entelechy. (...)
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  • Vital Forces and Organization: Philosophy of Nature and Biology in Karl Friedrich Kielmeyer.Andrea Gambarotto - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48:12-20.
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