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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 Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
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
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
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
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

Virchow's Caution

Here, as also in regard to "Darwinism," which was advanced about the same
time, the typical advocate of "caution" was Rudolf Virchow. His doubts and
reservations found utterance very soon after the theory itself had been
promulgated. In his "Cellular Pathologie,"(76) and in an essay on "The Old
Vitalism and the New,"(77) he puts in a word for a vis vitalis. The old
vitalism, he declared, had been false because it assumed, not a vis, but
a spiritus vitalis. The substances in animate and in inanimate bodies
have undoubtedly absolutely the same properties. Nevertheless, "we must at
once rid ourselves of the scientific prudery of regarding the processes of
life solely as the mechanical result of the molecular forces inherent in
their constituent bodily parts." The essential feature of life is a
derived and communicated force additional to the molecular forces.
Whence it comes we are not told. He glided all round the problem with
platitudinarian expressions, which were intended to show his own adherence
as a matter of course to the new biological school, and which revealed at
the same time his striking incapacity for defining a problem with any
precision. At a "certain period in the evolution of the earth" this force
arose, as the ordinary mechanical movements "swung over" into the vital.
But it is thus a special form of movement, which detaches itself from the
great constants of general movement, and runs its course alongside of, and
in constant relation to, these. (Did ever vitalist assert more?) After
thus preparing the way for a return of the veering process at a particular
stage of evolution, and giving the necessary assurances against the
"diametrically opposed dualistic position," Virchow employs almost all the
arguments against the mechanical theory which vitalists have ever brought
forward. Even the catalytic properties of ferments are above the
"ordinary" physical and chemical forces. The movement of crystallisation,
too, cannot be compared with the vital movement. For vital force is not
immanent in matter, but is always the product of previous life.(78) In the
simplest processes of growth and nutrition the vis vitalis plays its
vital role. This is true in a much greater degree of the processes of
development and morphogenesis. In the phenomena of irritability life
reveals its spontaneity through "responses," and so on. "Peu d'anatomie
pathologique eloigne du vitalisme, beaucoup d'anatomie pathologique y

It is impossible to make much of this position. It leaves the theory with
one of the opposing parties, the practice with the other, and the problem
just where it was before.

Next: Preyer's Position

Previous: Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life

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