Nature, Philosophy of (Britannica article)

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Munson, J. Ronald, and Richard Charles York. Nature, Philosophy of. Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 1974.

Under "The Nature of Biological Systems" briefly handles Vitalism, Mechanism, and Organicism—the last a theory holding "that organisms must be interpreted as functioning wholes and cannot be understood by means of physics and chemistry alone" (873-74). Vitalism is dead, but simplistic Mechanism may be ailing: although "Few scientists today call themselves organismic biologists . . . . most antireductionists subscribe at least to part of the organismic doctrine, in particular to its wholistic claim" (873)—and our impression is that the systems approach to biology is now more respectable than any kind of reductionism. (The whole equals not only the sum of its parts but their relationships.) Article ends with a very extensive, analytical, annotated biblio. (876-77). See in this Category of the Wiki, R. Descartes[1]; T. Hobbes; D. Hofstadter; D. S. Robinson; C. Sagan, "Life"; J. C. J. Smart; B. de Spinoza; S. E. Toulmin; R. A. Watson[2]; R. S. Westfall.