What Is Vitalism, What Does It Mean?July 1, 2021
The general name of the teachings that claim that life is born from a vital principle.
It is against vitalism, mechanicalism, spiritism, vulgar materialism. Those with this understanding argue that life cannot be reduced to a beginning, neither spiritual nor physical; According to them, life consisted of a completely different power, a unique life principle. Vitality and spiritism regard the event of vitality as the product of the spirit, mechanics use it as a lever etc. explains the laws of machinery such as (for example, the heart is a pump, the eye is an optical instrument, the stomach is a chemistry laboratory), crude materialism reduces it to physicochemical phenomena.
Vitalism, in opposition to all this, attributes the cause of life to various vital principles. According to the vitalists, it does not give birth to any machine, but vitality is fertile; no machine repairs itself, but vitality repairs what is broken; A space is made up of parts that are separate wholes, and vitality is an inseparable whole. Therefore, the event of life or life is the product of a completely different principle that takes its cause from itself. It can be called an idea like Plato, entelekheia like Aristotle, geist like Max Scheler, elan vital like Henri Bergson, dominant like some botanists. But what actually happened has never been explained. The vitalist Barthez has said the most correct word on this subject and defined this power, which they call the vital power, as an unknowable power.
Vitalism, which has its roots in the ancient Greeks, especially Plato and Aristotle, has its most extreme idealistic structure, since the 17th century, G. Stahl, Drisch, J. J. Uexkull, Reinke, Becher, Bordeu, Bichat, etc. In the teachings of idealist thinkers such as Vitalism, especially in France, was schooled with the Mpntpellier school and was studied by Bartez, Cuvier, Jean Muller, etc. developed by thinkers such as Although vitalist claims, which are not based on any scientific basis, were tried to be revived under the name of new vitalism for a while, they have lost their validity even among idealists today. As a famous dialectician put it, “the history of the development of science is the history of the refutation of vitalism.”