Organicism and its ideas

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Organicism and its ideas

Postby vivian maxine on October 10th, 2015, 9:58 am 

I am here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organicism The topic is Organicism and I have two questions. The article starts with what theories organicism rejects:

Mechanism and Reductionism - I'll skip these so I can get to the point

Vitalism - the doctrine that there is a vital force different from physical forces that accounts for living things.

Question: By "vital force", is it meaning something spiritual? Or is it merely referring to the ability to reason - perhaps separating Mind from Body?

Then, there is the topic - Organicisms: the theory that everything in nature has an organic basis or is part of an organic whole. The whole is greater than its parts. Human Society is analogous to an organism. Individual humans are analogous to the cells of an organism.

The article does refer to the problems created in socialist countries where control was top to bottom. But, before noticing that, I got to wondering. What about just the opposite? If you put control from bottom to top - individual humans have all the freedom possible. They form into societies as necessary and, from there into governments. But the last word is always to the individuals - majority rule.

Question: That is pretty much the society we have but can it lead to chaos? And doesn't it encourage the attitude of "I don't like that law; I don't have to obey it"? I supposed we have to say there is a happy medium but I'm just wondering. Am I seeing right?
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby mtbturtle on October 10th, 2015, 1:32 pm 

vivian maxine » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:58 am wrote:I am here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organicism The topic is Organicism and I have two questions. The article starts with what theories organicism rejects:

Mechanism and Reductionism - I'll skip these so I can get to the point

Vitalism - the doctrine that there is a vital force different from physical forces that accounts for living things.

Question: By "vital force", is it meaning something spiritual? Or is it merely referring to the ability to reason - perhaps separating Mind from Body?


spiritual is a synonymy the wiki used " the vitalistic or spiritualistic connotations" soul or mental force might also work
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby vivian maxine on October 10th, 2015, 1:43 pm 

mtbturtle » October 10th, 2015, 12:32 pm wrote:
vivian maxine » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:58 am wrote:I am here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organicism The topic is Organicism and I have two questions. The article starts with what theories organicism rejects:

Mechanism and Reductionism - I'll skip these so I can get to the point

Vitalism - the doctrine that there is a vital force different from physical forces that accounts for living things.

Question: By "vital force", is it meaning something spiritual? Or is it merely referring to the ability to reason - perhaps separating Mind from Body?


spiritual is a synonymy the wiki used " the vitalistic or spiritualistic connotations" soul or mental force might also work


I did see that and took it as a religious meaning. Then I got to thinking. Isn't "spirit" used in another way that has nothing to do with religion? But that's "spirit" and maybe nothing to do with spiritual.

I'll give it some thought. Maybe check Oxford. Thank you.
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby Braininvat on October 10th, 2015, 7:51 pm 

When I took phil in college, vitalism was defined as a kind of spruced-up Cartesian dualism. We should surf over to SEP and see what they have.

Henri Bergson is a good example of a vitalist. IIRC several Frenchies were big on it, e.g. Deleuze.
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby vivian maxine on October 11th, 2015, 7:48 am 

Braininvat » October 10th, 2015, 6:51 pm wrote:When I took phil in college, vitalism was defined as a kind of spruced-up Cartesian dualism. We should surf over to SEP and see what they have.

Henri Bergson is a good example of a vitalist. IIRC several Frenchies were big on it, e.g. Deleuze.


I read a bit about it yesterday. Two place I saw both said it is totally out of acceptance now and that philosophers do not include it in their studies. From what I learned about it, that does surprise me but what do I know? I'm sure there are a few hangers-on.
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby DragonFly on October 11th, 2015, 1:19 pm 

We are left but with vitamins as hardly even as a faint echo of the fabled Elan Vitale, as Fantasies fade, and even the mighty Echo herself has been reduced to a drear murmur between the woodmen's shouts and songs.
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby neuro on October 23rd, 2015, 4:07 am 

Just to be picky:
vitalism refers, as you correctly reported, to a "vital force different from physical forces that accounts for living things".
This is neither the mind nor the soul as we think of it today. It is the "psyche" as the ancient Greeks though of it: a vital/spiritual force that accounts for LIFE. Not for tought, not for feelings, not for ethics, aesthetic sense, love, transcendence or immortality.
All these things certainly are consistent with a vitalistic perspective, but vitalism is even more drastic: a "vital force different from physical forces" would be needed to make a fruit-fly alive, or even a plant.

So, the dualistic perspective on human consciousness does not require vitalism.
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Re: Organicism and its ideas

Postby vivian maxine on October 23rd, 2015, 7:17 am 

Thank you, neuro. Just by coincidence, I happened on this same topic two nights ago in a book by Fritjof Capra: "The Web of Life". Mr. Capra makes it much more clear than the Wiki article did. Or maybe I was just more ready to understand it. At any rate, his writing about vitalism falls right in line with yours. I appreciate your summary.
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