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Vitalism Now – A Problematic

Greco, Monica. 2019. Vitalism Now – A Problematic. Theory, Culture and Society, ISSN 0263-2764 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

This paper considers whether and how ‘vitalism’ might be considered relevant as a concept today; whether its relevance should be expressed in terms of disciplinary demarcations between the life sciences and the natural sciences; and whether there is a fundamental incompatibility between a 'vitalism of process' and a 'vitalism as pathos' (Osborne, 2016). I argue that the relevance of vitalism as an epistemological and ontological problem concerning the categorical distinction between living and non-living beings must be contextualised historically, and referred exclusively to the epistemic horizon defined by classical physics. In contrast to this, drawing on the philosophies of Canguilhem, Whitehead, and Atlan, I propose an appreciation of the contemporary relevance of vitalism premised on the pathic and indeterminate character of nature as a whole. From this perspective vitalism expresses a politically significant ethos concerning the relationship between life, knowledge, problems and their solutions.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276419848034

Keywords:

Canguilhem, life, pathos, problematology, process, vitalism, Whitehead

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
3 April 2019Accepted
15 July 2019Published Online

Item ID:

26231

Date Deposited:

11 Apr 2019 14:56

Last Modified:

11 Oct 2019 22:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/26231

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