from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plural form of vitalist.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Going back to the early scientific study of neurology, you can see that "vitalists" believed there was a synapse between nerve cells, while "spontanists" - then the scientific authorities, were vigorously arguing that there was no synapse, but rather an optical illusion or mistake.

    Teach the Controversy

  • And this defiant challenger of the "vitalists," who thus half-sneeringly speaks of those who believe that the vital forces of the universe are among the highest potential factors expressed therein, is one who, for the last decade and a half, has mostly lived in the ephemeromorphic world, and who, in diving into the "beginnings of life," has so far lost his way that the all-glorious end of it is as much an inexplicable mystery to him now, as when he was more successfully expounding pathological anatomy and ruthlessly hacking away at anatomical subjects over the dissecting-slab of the London University College.

    Life: Its True Genesis

  • Though we may (the "vitalists" or "aquosists" would say) experiment with water, determine exactly the temperature and pressure at which these remarkable phenomena are exhibited, though we may determine its surface tension and its crystalline form, and even though we may weigh exactly the proportion of hydrogen to oxygen in its composition, yet when we look at a drop of water, there it is,

    More Science From an Easy Chair

  • Professor Bastian, in his great work on the "Beginnings of Life," has unhesitatingly said: "The 'vitalists' must give up their last stronghold -- we cannot even grant them a right to assume the existence of a special 'vital force' whose peculiar office it is to effect the transformation of physical forces.

    Life: Its True Genesis

  • Such attempts at what must be admitted to be premature reduction were resisted by critics, including some vitalists, whose positions covered a wide range from romantic anti-materialists, through chemists seeking a new type of Newtonian force (“vital force”) in nature, to materialists who had an intuition of the importance of the organized whole (Fruton 1972, 1999).


  • To do this they reject, as the Buddhists, the early Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, and other vitalists do, the whole notion that there are non-intentional intrinsic natures at the ultimate level of reality.

    Another Chink in a Worldview's Armor?

  • Of course there were reactions to this ateleological worldview coming from the Buddhists in the East who denied svabhava and the vitalists in the West.

    Another Chink in a Worldview's Armor?

  • Annas writes as if consciousness is some impenetrable mystery – much the way the vitalists and creationists refer to life and evolution.

    NEJM: Intelligent Judging --- Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom - The Panda's Thumb

  • I once had a brief online discussion somewhere with Barham; we decided that the primary difference between us is that I'm a 'Right Aristotelian', taking Aristotle in a theistic direction (along the lines of the scholastics), and he's a 'Left Aristotelian', taking Aristotle in a materialist direction (along the lines of the vitalists).

    Archive 2005-09-01

  • But vitalists can use arguments closely parallel to creationist arguments, like how molecular biology implies that we are biochemical robots without dignity or free will, how there are lots of things that molecular biologists still cannot explain, and how if teenagers come to accept molecular biology, they will become more willing to murder their classmates and commit other terrible crimes the argumentum ex Columbina.

    Why isn't the germ theory a "religion"? - The Panda's Thumb


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