Research Article | Published:

Vitalism and Mechanism

Nature volume 127, pages 350351 (07 March 1931) | Download Citation



SEVENTY years ago, the then small educated public read Darwin's “Origin of Species” with such avidity that its first edition of 1250 copies was sold out on the day of publication. For twenty years from that date, biology, because of its obvious and direct bearing on the problem of man's place in Nature, was read and discussed by the general public. That continued interest was in large part due to the controversial vigour and literary ability of Prof. T. H. Huxley? but it was based on that aspect of the human mind which seeks an explanation of the apparent purposelessness of the universe and of human life with its joys and sorrows, distributed so capriciously and unfairly. This interest, long continued, died away, and has never been revived. But in its place has risen an interest far more widely spread and much less easily understood, in those modern developments of physics which depend on the relativity and quantum theories.

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