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CRITICISM OF MECHANICAL THEORIES

Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Genius
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
Heredity
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Immortality
Individual Development
Individuality
Intuitions Of Reality
Irritability
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Mysticism
Natural Selection
Naturalism
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Parallelism
Personality
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Self-consciousness
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Underivability
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
Weismannism
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook



The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider








An outlook and interpretation which Driesch(102) maintained for a while,
but afterwards abandoned, has been developed in an original and peculiar
fashion by Eugen Albrecht, Prosector and Pathologist in Munich.(103) It is
the theory of different ways of looking at things. Albrecht indeed firmly
adheres to the chemical and physical interpretation of vital processes,
regards approximate completeness along these lines as the ideal of
science, and maintains their essential sufficiency. But he holds that the
mechanists have been mistaken and one-sided in that they have upheld this
interpretation and mode of considering things as the sole and the "true"
one. According to our subjective attitude to things and their changes,
they appear to us in quite different series of associations, each of which
forms a complete series in itself, running parallel to the others, but not
intruding to fill up gaps in them. Microscopic and macroscopic study of
things illustrate such separate and complete series. The classical example
for the whole theory is the psycho-physical parallelism. Psychical
phenomena are not "explained" when the correlated line of material changes
and the phenomena of the nervous system have been traced out. Similarly
with the series of "vital" phenomena, "vital" interpretation from the
point of view of the "living organism," runs parallel to, but distinct
from the chemical and physical analyses of vital processes. But each of
these parallel ways of regarding things is "true." For the current
separation of the "appearance" and "nature" of things is false, since it
assumes that only one of the possible ways of regarding things, e.g.,
the mechanical-causal mode of interpretation is essential, and that all
the others deal only with associated appearance.

The idea that only one or two of these series can represent the "true
nature" of the phenomenon "can only be called cheap dogma." Each series is
complete in itself, and every successive phase follows directly and
without a break from the antecedent one, which alone explains it. In this
lies the relative justification of the ever-recurring reactions to
"vitalism."

This theory of Albrecht's has all the charms and difficulties, or
impossibilities, of parallelistic interpretations in general. Its validity
might be discussed with reference to the particular case of
psycho-physical parallelism.(104)

To make a sound basis for itself it would require first to clear up the
causality problem, and to answer, or at least definitely formulate the
great question whether causing (Bewirkung) is to be replaced by mere
necessary sequence--for this is where it ends. The conclusion which, with
regard to biological methods and ideals, seems to make all concessions to
the purely mechanical mode of interpretation, is not sufficiently obvious
from the premisses. If the vital series be a "real" one, we should expect
that a "vitalistic" mode of interpretation, with methods and aims of its
own, would be required, just as a special science of psychology is
required. The assumption that each series is complete without a break, and
that an all-including analysis of vital processes in terms of mechanical
processes must ultimately be possible, is a petitio principii, and
breaks down before the objections raised by the vitalists. The most
central problem in the whole matter, namely, the relation of the causal to
the teleological, has not been touched. These two concepts would, of
course, not yield "parallels," but would be different points of view,
which could eventually be applied to each series.

K. Camillo Schneider,(105) Privatdozent in Vienna, uses the soul, the
psychical in the true sense, as the explanation of the vital. What had
been thought secretly and individually by some of the vitalists already
mentioned, but had, so to speak, cropped up only as the incidentally
revealed reverse side of their negations of mechanism, Schneider attempts
definitely to formulate into a theory. The chief merit of his book on
"Vitalism" is to be found, in Chapters II. to X., in his thorough
discussion of the chemical, physical, and mechanical theories along the
special lines of each.

The list of critics might be added to, and the number of standpoints in
opposition to mechanism greatly increased. This diversity of standpoint,
and the individual way in which each independent thinker reacts from the
mechanical theory shows that here, as also in regard to Darwin's theory of
selection, we have to do with a dogmatic theory and a forced
simplification of phenomena, not with an objective and calm consideration
of things as they are. It is a theory where simplex has become sigillum
falsi.





Next: How All This Affects The Religious Outlook

Previous: The Constructive Work Of Driesch



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