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Vitalizing Nature in the Enlightenment

Peter H. Reill

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University of California Press img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Philosophie

Beschreibung

This far-reaching study redraws the intellectual map of the Enlightenment and boldly reassesses the legacy of that highly influential period for us today. Peter Hanns Reill argues that in the middle of the eighteenth century, a major shift occurred in the way Enlightenment thinkers conceived of nature that caused many of them to reject the prevailing doctrine of mechanism and turn to a vitalistic model to account for phenomena in natural history, the life sciences, and chemistry. As he traces the ramifications of this new way of thinking through time and across disciplines, Reill provocatively complicates our understanding of the way key Enlightenment thinkers viewed nature. His sophisticated analysis ultimately questions postmodern narratives that have assumed a monolithic Enlightenment—characterized by the dominance of instrumental reason—that has led to many of the disasters of modern life.

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Schlagwörter

william cullen, modernity, reason, history, mechanism, romanticism, early modern enlightenment, history of science, counter enlightenment, 18th century, nature, spark of life, animism, life science, charles louis dumas, chemistry, natural history, philosophy, vitalism, generation, enlightenment, reproduction, religion and science, cuvier, naturphilosophie, physiology, life force, natural world, scientific disciplines, stahlian chemistry, science, epigenesis, relationship with nature, natural philosophy