A Short History of Vitalism
This podcast provides a short history of the philosophical theory of vitalism. Vitalism is a set of philosophical propositions claiming that matter is not foundational, that the material world cannot be described in reductive terms. Put positively, vitalism proposes the existence of principles not found in inorganic matter nor nature. Or if we think about it in biological terms, living things, that is living organisms, have vital forces that actively contribute to arranging any organism’s material constituents. I look at the roots of vitalism in Aristotle, how vitalism continued in the 18th and 19th century, the repudiation of vitalism by twentieth century biology, as well as the resurgence of vitalism in the 21st century in philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, Karen Barad and Jane Bennett.