Is Biology Methodologically Unique?

  • Mario Bunge
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 44)


It is widely believed that vitalism withered away during the last world war. This may be true of crude metaphysical vitalism, for which life is supra-material and inaccessible to reason. It is not true of methodological vitalism, which holds that biology is utterly different from the physical sciences. Indeed, while the former seldom dares to raise its unkempt head, methodological vitalism is going rather strongly in the traditional branches of biology, mainly in systematics and morphology, and to some extent in physiology and evolution theory as well. If anything, the successes of the chemical theory of the origin of life and of heredity have strengthened the virulence of methodological vitalism: the latter constitutes a mechanism- resisting strain of biological thinking.


Physical Science Biological Theory Atomic Species Theoretical Entity Lunar Theory 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Bunge
    • 1
  1. 1.Foundations and Philosophy of Science UnitMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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