Charles Wolfe, « From substantival to functional vitalism and beyond: animas, organisms and attitudes », UGent, 20/04

The Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science is glad to announce the third appointment in the renewed series of Lunchtalks by its members.
Date: 20 April, 13:00-14:30, Location: room 146, Blandijnberg 2.

 
Abstract : I distinguish between what I call « substantival » and « functional » forms of vitalism in the eighteenth century. Substantival vitalism presupposes the existence of something like a (substantive) vital force which either plays a causal role in the natural world as studied by scientific means, or remains a kind of hovering, extra-causal entity. Functional vitalism tends to operate « post facto », from the existence of living bodies to the desire to find explanatory models that will do justice to their uniquely « vital » properties in a way that fully mechanistic (Cartesian, Boerhaavian etc.) models cannot. I discuss some representative figures of the Montpellier school (Bordeu, Ménuret, Fouquet) as being functional rather than substantival vitalists. Time allowing, I will make an additional point regarding the reprisal of vitalism(s) in « late modernity », as some call it; from Hans Driesch to Georges Canguilhem. I suggest that in addition to the substantival and functional varieties, we then encounter a third species of vitalism, which I term « attitudinal », as it argues for vitalism as a kind of attitude.

Everyone is cordially invited.

Dr. Primiero, Giuseppe – Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science
Department of Philosophy and Moral Science, Blandijnberg 2, room 231 University of Ghent, B-9000, Ghent (Belgium)
Email: Giuseppe.Primiero@UGent.be ()
Home Page: http://logica.ugent.be/giuseppe/

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