Article ID: CBB000831759

Regulating Agents, Functional Interactions, and Stimulus-Reaction-Schemes: The Concept of “Organism” in the Organic System Theories of Stahl, Bordeu, and Barthez (2008)


Cheung, Tobias (Author)

Science in Context
Volume: 21
Pages: 495--519

Publication Date: 2008
Edition Details: Part of a special issue on “Medical Vitalism in the Enlightenment”
Language: English

In this essay, I sketch a problem-based framework within which I locate the concept of organism in the system theories of Georg Ernst Stahl, Théophile Bordeu, and Paul-Joseph Barthez. Around 1700, Stahl coins the word organism for a certain concept of order. For him, the concept explains the form of order of living bodies that is categorically different from the order of other (dead) bodies or composites. At the end of the century, the organism as a specific form of order becomes a major topos in many discourses. I will not so much focus on experiments and objects as on basic problems that contribute to the general framework of the concept of organism as a key concept of the vitalist movement between 1700 and 1800. For this purpose, I will investigate the combination of three explanatory tools. These tools refer to regulating agents, functional interactions, and stimulus-reactions-schemes within individual organic systems of forces. They are related to various themes -- especially to energy, sensibility, and sympathy. I will retrace some aspects of these relations.

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Article Wolfe, Charles T. (2008) Introduction: Vitalism without Metaphysics? Medical Vitalism in the Enlightenment. Science in Context (p. 461). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Wolfe, Charles T.
Gierer, Alfred
Cheung, Tobias
Donohue, Christopher R.
Hendriksen, Marieke M. A.
Waisse, Silvia
Science in Context
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Springer Nature
Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin
Classiques Garnier
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
University of Chicago
Mechanism; mechanical philosophy
Stahl, Georg Ernst
Bordeu, Théophile de
Sherrington, Charles Scott
Wolff, Christian von
Harvey, William
Haller, Albrecht von
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
20th century
19th century
Early modern
Cambridge (England)
Paris (France)
Université de Montpellier

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