from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In physiology: The doctrine or opinion that the distinctive activities of living beings cannot completely be accounted for as the resultants of the physical and chemical constitution of their bodies and of their movements, according to the principles of mechanics.
- noun The doctrine or opinion that the distinctive activities of living beings are different in kind from those of inorganic bodies, and that they are due to a different kind of energy from any that is made known by the study of the inorganic universe: because knowledge of the physics and chemistry of their bodies, while it may make it possible to foresee or predict their actions, does not reveal what brings them about and makes them to be what they are. Since the aim of the concrete sciences is to predict the consequences of given antecedents and not to discover who or what makes them to be, there is no difference between physics and physiology in this respect.
- noun In biology, the doctrine or opinion that the generation of uew beings from eggs and parts of eggs, and the regeneration or replacement of parts that have been lost, cannot be explained or understood as the mechanical resultants of the conditions under which they take place, because they bring about or restore that due subordination and interadjustment of parts which is necessary for establishing or restoring the coördination and unity of the whole: although inability to account for these processes by means of the history of the individual does not show that they may not be the intelligible consequences, direct or indirect, of ancestral history.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Furthermore, there is a noticeable reaction towards the scholastic position in recent biology, in which a growing school of neovitalism is making itself felt.