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A Protest against Vitalism


THE work before us is a reprint of an address delivered before the International Congress of Zoology at Berlin in 1901, amplified by the addition of a preface and of explanatory and supplementary notes, which exceed considerably in bulk the original lecture. The author takes as his theme the most fundamental problem of biology, namely, the relation of life and living things to the inorganic world. With regard to this question, biologists fall, consciously or unconsciously, into two camps—on the one hand the vitalists, who do not believe that an ultimate explanation of the phenomena of life can be given in terms of the not-living; on the other hand, the “mechanists,”as they are here named, who “consider it possible, even though feasible only to the most limited extent at the present time, to comprehend vital forms and vital phenomena on the basis of complicated physicochemical conditions”(p. 8).

Mechanismus und Vitalismus.

By O. Bütschli.. Pp. 107. (Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 1901.) Price 1s. 9d.


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M., E. A Protest against Vitalism. Nature 65, x (1902).

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