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By Ludwig von Bertalanffy

2014 Reprint of unique 1962 American variation. precise facsimile of the unique variation, no longer reproduced with Optical attractiveness software program. this crucial advent to theoretical biology is a vintage paintings in its box. Already within the 1930's Bertalanffy formulated the organismic approach conception that later turned the kernel of the GST (General platforms Theory]. GST is an interdisciplinary perform that describes platforms with interacting parts, acceptable to biology, cybernetics, and different fields. Bertalanffy proposed that the classical legislation of thermodynamics utilized to closed structures, yet now not inevitably to "open systems," similar to residing issues. His mathematical version of an organism's development over the years continues to be in use this day.

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Nothing is so dangerous as the groundless speculation and theorizing in vogue among biological outsiders, but unfortunately this is not unknown even in the science itself. There is also another ground for the antitheoretical attitude of contemporary biologists which is not difficult to understand and agree with. Only too often do we THE METHOD OF THEORETICAL BIOLOGY 27 see the theorist leave the solid ground of experience and experiment and disappear into the blue mists of metaphysical speculation.

Psycho-vitalism, which attempts to give a concrete conte,nt to the vital principle as 'soul', suffers from the same weakness. For a sub-human psyche is equally unimaginable: we shall not claim to call the organo-genetic and instinctive mental life conscious; . but if we call it unconscious we have assumed a mental entity to which is denied the fundamental character of the only mental life known to us, namely, our own consciousness. Hence we are again given a word instead of an explanation. It is important that we should understand why vitalism comes 2.

Thus the investigator works on the one hand with concepts which are foreign to the physical sciences, and at the same time insists that in the vital process only physico-chemical laws are to be discovered and that no other scientific investigation is allowed. The fact that concepts creep in which give a special place to organisms which they cannot have according to its own principles constitutes a striking refutation of mechanism in its traditional forms. (c) The Machine Theory. We have seen that a simple physico-chemical explanation of the single processes leaves us in the lurch in the face of the fundamental biological problem-the organization of materials and processes in the organism.

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