New book by the IAS former fellow Charles Wolfe

April 9, 2019

IAS congratulates former fellow Charles Wolfe on publishing a a new book titled La philosophie de la biologie avant la biologie: une histoire du vitalisme (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2019, 514 p.).

This book examines the shifts from a metaphysics of Life in the early modern period to the conceptual underpinnings for the science of biology as it emerges in the late eighteenth century. It then extends these conceptual questions into the twentieth century, looking at issues of ‘organism’ and different strands of the philosophy of biology. Central in both historical and conceptual terms is the multiform doctrine of vitalism, which I describe as existing in a fruitful back-and-forth with materialism, contrary to the common picture we have of vitalism as a naïve metaphysics of vital forces.