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Vital Forces, Teleology and Organization Philosophy of Nature and the Rise of Biology in Germany

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Vital Forces, Teleology and Organization: Philosophy of Nature and the Rise of Biology in Germany By Andrea Gambarotto
English | PDF,EPUB | 2017 (2018 Edition) | 156 Pages | ISBN : 3319654144 | 2.20 MB
This comprehensive account of vitalism and the German philosophy of nature in the eighteenth century proposes an innovative thesis. The author restates the theories formulated by the Göttingen School, but also shows that some of its central tenets are drawn directly from the Naturphilosophie developed in Jena.
In this sense the Biologie consists substantially of a compilation of theories elaborated in the previous decades, yet Treviranus rearranges them in a unitary framework and interprets them with a peculiar emphasis on the interaction between organism and environment. On the basis of this new approach he was the first naturalist in the German speaking world to sketch the outline of a theory concerned with the historical transformation of living forms.
The book begins by considering the problem of generation, focussing on the debate involving Wolff, Blumenbach, Kant and Reil on the notion of “formative force.” Readers are invited to engage with the question of the origin of form and the epistemological status of the Bildungkraft as a principle of organization. The second chapter is concerned with the problem of functions and shows how this debate intersected Haller's theory on the vital properties of nerves and fibers. Readers are shown how Blumenbach and Kielmeyer both understand the animal kingdom as a graded series of organisms characterized by increasing functional complexity.
The problem of classification is treated in the third chapter, showing how this model was developed in Goethe's morphology, Schelling's Naturphilosophie and Oken's comparative anatomy. The author explores their common character, which is an understanding of classification based on the idea of a unity of plan connecting all living forms with one another, and that of living nature as a universal organism. Finally, an analysis of the fundamental tenets of Treviranus’ Biologie shows how the three instances of the pre-biological discourse on living beings converged as unified disciplinary matrix of a general biology.
This overall account and its innovative thesis will be of interest to scholars of classical German philosophy, particularly those researching the philosophy of nature and the history and philosophy of biology.


Vital Forces, Teleology and Organization Philosophy of Nature and the Rise of Biology in Germany

10$
Buy!Download Size: 1.8 MB


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