Elan vital

In hmolscience, elan vital or élan vital (French), from Greek Vita, "goddess of life"+ Old French eslan “rush” or elancer “to throw forth or hurl”, a term which translates as “vital impetus”, is an anti-entropy type of concept, conceived by French philosopher Henri Bergson, as explained in his 1907 Creative Evolution, themed to embody a mixture of impulse, driving force, and life force, argued to be found existent in evolving animated organisms. The term is intimately connected with belief in the existence of God—an attempt be scientific, yet retain remote connection to religion.

Influence
The term has been very influential to those who wish to maintain beliefs in the metaphysical borderland of religion and science: Christian de Quincey, Marguerite Callaway, etc.; for Pierre Teilhard, Creative Evolution and its "élan vital" was the "catalyst of a fire which devoured already its heart and its spirit." The concept, in some way, was said to have “inspired” Ilya Prigogine.

Criticism
British biologist Julian Huxley (1887-1975) remarked that Bergson’s élan vital is no better an explanation of life than is explaining the operation of a railway engine by its élan locomotif ("locomotive driving force") or specifically: [1]

“To say that biological progress is explained by the élan vital is to say that the movement of the train is ‘explained’ by an élan locomotif of the engine.”

The jibe here, of course, is true in its humor, in that, the driving force behind movements on the surface of the earth, whether a train or children making a play human choo-choo train, is Gibbs free energy. This concept, however, was not purified enough, by the time of Bergson.

Other
In 2012, Japanese genomics of photosynthetic organisms researcher Naoki Sato published his Entropy journal article “Scientific Elan Vital: Entropy Deficit or Inhomogeneity as a Unified Concept of Driving Forces of Life in Hierarchical Biosphere Driven by Photosynthesis”, wherein he positions to introduce the concept of “entropy deficit” to be the new unified driving force of the biosphere. [2] Sato’s theory (see his article), however, is an example of someone lost in the garden of thermodynamics.

References
1. Gillies, Mary Ann. (1996). Henri Bergson and British Modernism (revision of author’s PhD thesis), (pg. 31). McGill-Queen’s Press.
2. Sato, Naoki. (2012). “Scientific Elan Vital: Entropy Deficit or Inhomogeneity as a Unified Concept of Driving Forces of Life in Hierarchical Biosphere Driven by Photosynthesis” (abs), Entropy, 14(2): 233-51.

External links
‚óŹ Elan vital – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns

More pages