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Article

Vitalism By Bradd, Christopher

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1377-1
Published: 02/05/2017
Retrieved: 26 March 2019, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/vitalism

Article

Vitalism is a philosophy of life that ascribes a vital principle or animating life-force to the processes of living organisms. Against the assertions of mechanistic thought, which held that the processes of living organisms could be explained by the chemical or mechanical interaction of their associative parts, vitalist discourse, in the seventeenth century, reasserted the ancient and irreducible distinction between living and non-living beings. In the nineteenth century, the doctrine was given metaphysical expression in the work of Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) and later by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), who proclaimed that art was ‘the great stimulant of life’ (452).

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02/05/2017

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM1377-1

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Citing this article:

Bradd, Christopher. "Vitalism." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 26 Mar. 2019 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/vitalism. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1377-1

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