The Science and Philosophy of the Organism

The Science and Philosophy of the Organism

Author:
Hans Driesch
Author:
Hans Driesch
Format:
epub
language:
English

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Author: Driesch, Hans, 1867-1941
Science — Philosophy
Organism (Philosophy)
Biology — Philosophy
The Science and Philosophy of the Organism
Transcriber’s notes:
In this transcription, page numbers are shown in the right margin, and page footnotes (renumbered in consecutive order) are grouped together at the end of the book. Hyperlinks to footnotes and page references are indicated by black dotted underlines plus aqua highlighting when the mouse pointer hovers over them. The footnotes are themselves hyperlinked back to the originating marker to facilitate easy return to the text. A red dashed underline as shown here indicates the presence of a transcriber’s comment; scrolling the mouse pointer over such text will reveal the comment.
The rare spelling typos noted in the original text have been corrected silently (e.g. invividual–>individual, hyberbola–>hyperbola) but inconsistent use of the ligature æ/ae (e.g. palæontology/palaeontology), inconsistent use of alternative spellings (e.g. learned/learnt), and occasional inconsistencies of hyphenation have been left as in the original. Minor punctuation typos have been corrected silently (e.g. index entries with missing commas). The abbreviation viz. appears in both roman and italic font.
Formatting of entries in the Table of Contents does not accurately match that of the corresponding headings in the text, particularly the heading Pt.I-B-3 which contains an extraneous α.
In Figure 12 caption, multiple ditto marks have been replaced by the relevant text for greater clarity.

THE SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY
OF THE ORGANISM

AGENTS
America The Macmillan Company
64 & 66 Fifth Avenue, New York
Australasia The Oxford University Press, Melbourne
Canada The Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd.
27 Richmond Street West, Toronto
India Macmillan & Company, Ltd.
Macmillan Building, Bombay
309 Bow Bazaar Street, Calcutta

THE
SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY
OF THE ORGANISM

THE GIFFORD LECTURES DELIVERED BEFORE
THE UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN
IN THE YEAR 1907

BY
HANS DRIESCH, Ph.D.
HEIDELBERG

LONDON
ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK
1908
All rights reserved


PREFACE

This work is not a text-book of theoretical biology; it is a systematic presentment of those biological topics which bear upon the true philosophy of nature. The book is written in a decidedly subjective manner, and it seems to me that this is just what “Gifford Lectures” ought to be. They ought never to lose, or even try to lose, their decidedly personal character.
My appointment as Gifford Lecturer, the news of which reached me in February 1906, came just at the right moment in the progress of my theoretical studies. I had always tried to improve my previous books by adding notes or altering the arrangement; I also had left a good deal of things unpublished, and thus I often hoped that I might have occasion to arrange for a new, improved, and enlarged edition of those books. This work then is the realisation of my hopes; it is, in its way, a definitive statement of all that I have to say about the Organic.
The first volume of this work, containing the lectures for 1907—though the division into “lectures” has not been preserved—consists of Parts I. and II. of Section A, “The Chief Results of Analytical Biology.” It gives in Part I. a shortened, revised, and, as I hope, improved account of what was published in my Analytische Theorie der organischen Entwickelung (1894), Die Localisation morphogenetischer Vorgänge; ein Beweis Vitalistischen Geschehens (1899), and Die organischen Regulationen (1901), though for the professed biologist the two last-named books are by no means superseded by the new work. Part II. has never been published in any systematic form before, though there are many remarks on Systematics, Darwinism, etc., in my previous papers.
The second volume—to be published in the autumn, after the delivery of the 1908 lectures—will begin with the third and concluding part of the scientific section, which is a very carefully revised and rearranged second edition of my book, Die “Seele” als elementarer Naturfactor (1903). The greater part of this volume, however, will be devoted to the “Philosophy of the Organism,” i.e. Section B, which, in my opinion, includes the most important parts of the work.
Some apology is needed for my presuming to write in English. I was led to do so by the conviction, mistaken perhaps, that the process of translation would rob the lectures of that individual and personal character which, as I said before, seems to me so much to be desired. I wished nothing to come between me and my audience. I accordingly wrote my manuscript in English, and then submitted it to linguistic revision by such skilled aid as I was able to procure at Heidelberg. My reviser tells me that if the result of his labours leaves much to be desired, it is not to be wondered at, but that, being neither a biologist nor a philosopher, he has done his best to make me presentable to the English reader. If he has failed in his troublesome task, I know that it is not for want of care and attention, and I desire here to record my sense of indebtedness to him. He wishes to remain anonymous, but I am permitted to say that, though resident in a foreign university, he is of Scottish name and English birth.
My gratitude to my friends at Aberdeen, in particular to Professor and Mrs. J. A. Thomson, for their hospitality and great kindness towards me cannot be expressed here; they all know that they succeeded in making me feel quite at home with them.
I am very much obliged to my publishers, Messrs. A. and C. Black, for their readiness to fulfil all my wishes with respect to publication.
The lectures contained in this book were written in English by a German and delivered at a Scottish university. Almost all of the ideas discussed in it were first conceived during the author’s long residence in Southern Italy. Thus this book may be witness to the truth which, I hope, will be universally recognised in the near future—that all culture, moral and intellectual and aesthetic, is not limited by the bounds of nationality.
HANS DRIESCH.

Heidelberg, 2nd January 1908.


CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME

THE PROGRAMME

PAGE
On Lord Gifford’s Conception of “Science” 1
Natural Sciences and “Natural Theology” 3
Our Philosophical Basis 5
On Certain Characteristics of Biology as a Science 9
The Three Different Types of Knowledge about Nature 13
General Plan of these Lectures 15
General Character of the Organic Form 19

SECTION A.—THE CHIEF RESULTS OF ANALYTICAL BIOLOGY
PART I.—THE INDIVIDUAL ORGANISM WITH REGARD TO
FORM AND METABOLISM

A. ELEMENTARY MORPHOGENESIS—
Evolutio and Epigenesis in the old Sense 25
The Cell 27
The Egg: its Maturation and Fertilisation 31
The First Developmental Processes of Echinus 33
Comparative Embryology 44
The First Steps of Analytical Morphogenesis 45
The Limits of Pure Description in Science 50
B. EXPERIMENTAL AND THEORETICAL MORPHOGENESIS—
1. The Foundations of the Physiology of Development. “Evolutio” and “Epigenesis” 52
The Theory of Weismann 52
Experimental Morphology 56
The Work of Wilhelm Roux 58
The Experiments on the Egg of the Sea-urchin 59
On the Intimate Structure of the Protoplasm of the Germ 65
On some Specificities of Organisation in Certain Germs 70
General Results of the First Period of “Entwickelungsmechanik” 71
Some New Results concerning Restitutions 74
2. Analytical Theory of Morphogenesis 76
α. THE DISTRIBUTION OF MORPHOGENIC POTENCIES 76
Prospective Value and Prospective Potency 76
The Potencies of the Blastomeres 79
The Potencies of Elementary Organs in General 80
Explicit and Implicit Potencies: Primary and Secondary Potencies 83
The Morphogenetic Function of Maturation in the Light of Recent Discoveries 85
The Intimate Structure of Protoplasm: Further Remarks 88
The Neutrality of the Concept of “Potency” 89
β. THE “MEANS” OF MORPHOGENESIS 89
β′. The Internal Elementary Means of Morphogenesis 90
Some Remarks on the Importance of Surface Tension in Morphogenesis 91
On Growth 93
On Cell-division 94
β″. The External Means of Morphogenesis 95
The Discoveries of Herbst 96
γ. THE FORMATIVE CAUSES OR STIMULI 99
The Definition of Cause 99
Some Instances of Formative and Directive Stimuli 102
δ. THE MORPHOGENETIC HARMONIES 107
ε. ON RESTITUTIONS 110
A few Remarks on Secondary Potencies and on Secondary Morphogenetic Regulations in General 110
The Stimuli of Restitutions 113
3. The Problem of Morphogenetic Localisation: The Theory of the Harmonious-Equipotential system—First Proof of the Autonomy of Life 118
The General Problem 118
The Morphogenetic “System” 119
The “Harmonious-equipotential System” 122
Instances of “Harmonious-equipotential Systems” 126
The Problem of the Factor E 132
No Explanation offered by “Means” or “Formative Stimuli” 132
No Explanation offered by a Chemical Theory of Morphogenesis 134
No Machine Possible Inside the Harmonious Systems 138
The Autonomy of Morphogenesis proved 142
“Entelechy” 143
Some General Remarks on Vitalism 145
The Logic of our First Proof of Vitalism 146
4. On Certain other Features of Morphogenesis Advocating its Autonomy 150
Harmonious-equipotential Systems formed by Wandering Cells 151
On Certain Combined Types of Morphogenetic Systems 153
The “Morphaesthesia” of Noll 157
Restitutions of the Second Order 158
On the “Equifinality” of Restitutions 159
Remarks on “Retro-Differentiation” 163
C. ADAPTATION—
Introductory Remarks on Regulations in General 165
1. Morphological Adaptation 168
The Limits of the Concept of Adaptation 168
Adaptations to Functional Changes from Without 172
True Functional Adaptation 176
Theoretical Conclusions 179
2. Physiological Adaptation 184
Specific Adaptedness not “Adaptation” 186
Primary and Secondary Adaptations in Physiology 188
On Certain Pre-requisites of Adaptations in General 189
On Certain Groups of Primary Physiological Adaptations 190
General Remarks on Irritability 190
The Regulation of Heat Production 193
Primary Regulations in the Transport of Materials and Certain Phenomena of Osmotic Pressure 194
Chromatic Regulations in Algae 197
Metabolic Regulations 198
Immunity the only Type of a Secondary Physiological Adaptation 204
No General Positive Result from this Chapter 209
A few Remarks on the Limits of Regulability 212
D. INHERITANCE. SECOND PROOF OF THE AUTONOMY OF LIFE—
The Material Continuity in Inheritance 214
On Certain Theories which Seek to Compare Inheritance to Memory 216
The Complex-Equipotential System and its Rôle in Inheritance 219
The Second Proof of Life-Autonomy. Entelechy at the Bottom of Inheritance 224
The Significance of the Material Continuity in Inheritance 227
The Experimental Facts about Inheritance 228
The Rôle of the Nucleus in Inheritance 233
Variation and Mutation 237
Conclusions from the First Main Part of these Lectures 240

PART II.—SYSTEMATICS AND HISTORY

A. THE PRINCIPLES OF SYSTEMATICS—
Rational Systematics 243
Biological Systematics 246
B. THE THEORY OF DESCENT—
1. Generalities 250
The Covert Presumption of all Theories of Descent 253
The Small Value of Pure Phylogeny 255
History and Systematics 257
2. The Principles of Darwinism 260
Natural Selection 261
Fluctuating Variation the Alleged Cause of Organic Divers

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