Vitalism and mechanism: their meanings
in the milieu of the 17th and 18th centuries

Hwang SI.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics,
College of Medicine,
Seoul National University
Uisahak. 1993;2(2):99-113


The views on the life in the early modern period (the 17th and 18th centuries) with their socio-cultural backgrounds and their meanings at that time were discussed in this paper. Those views discussed here were the dualistic, mechanistic one of Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the animistic, vitalistic one of Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734), and the monistic, mechanistic one of Julien Offray de la Mettrie (1709-1751). Author stressed that the processes of their view formation were influenced by the wide range of the various political and religious factors as well as the scientific, medical facts and opinions at that time, and that not only the contents of the views but also their historical contexts should be pursued in the study on the medical thoughts.
Adverse effects
Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
Inhalational techniques
Contemporary anaesthesia
Anaesthesia and anaesthetics
Anaesthesia: rivalries and discoveries
Neural basis of consciousness and intentionality
Vitalism, Friedrich Wöhler and the synthesis of urea

and further reading
Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World