Bildungstrieb

bildungstrieb
The 1781 frontispiece of German physician Johann Blumenbach's On the Formative Drive of the Generation Process (Uber den Bildungstieb und das Zeugungsgeschafte), giving a visual depiction of his bildungsteib (formative drive) theory. [2]
In science, bildungstrieb (German), nisus formativus or “formative drive” (English), the term bildung meaning "formation" and trieb meaning "drive", is a hypothesized epigenetic driving force posited to direct form reproduction in plants, animals, and humans. [1]

Overview
In 1781, German physician Johann Blumenbach, in his On the Formative Drive of the Generation Process (Uber den Bildungstieb und das Zeugungsgeschafte), the frontispiece of which is pictured adjacent, showing human, animal, and plant reproduction and growth, namely the hen laying an egg, the women breast feeding, a tree sprouting new branches following a trimming, shoot grafting, depicted lower right, along with an amputee, addressing the phenomenon of regeneration (Abrahman Trembley’s 1751 discovery of freshwater hydra’s ability to regenerate missing parts), introduced "bildungsteib" or formative drive theory. [2] Blumenbach summarized his theory as such: [1]

“In all living creatures from the human to the maggot and from the cedar up to the steed there lies a particular, inborn, effective drive active throughout life, first in order to attain their specific form, then to maintain it, and if it is destroyed, to restore it where possible.”

The theory was upgrade to the older preformationism (ovism; spermism), epigenesis (William Harvey, 1651), absurdities associated with the various regeneration theories that were discussed in respect to subject of reproduction and regrowth of cut parts, and to the mystically or religiously crouched vital force theories (vitalism, vital energy, vital heat).

Kant
German philosopher Immanuel Kant was influenced by Blumenbach's formative drive theory. [3]

Goethe
German polymath Johann Goethe wrote an essay on the theory entitled "Bildungstrieb" and seems to have incorporated parts of the theory in his Elective Affinities, the opening chapter (P1:C1) of which containing shoot grafting. [1]

Romanticism science scholar Robert Richards (2002) suggests that Goethe first learned of Blumenbach’s formative drive theory through his association with Alexander Humboldt, whom he had met in 1794. [4] In particular, in his 1795 article “The Life Force or the Rhodian genius, a Tale”, Humboldt used a poetical device to describe the character of the force, lebenskraft or “life force”, that worked to unify life processes and to hold in check the tendency of matter so organized to disintegrate, to decompose into elemental parts. [5]

In his Zur Morphologie (To Morphology), on morphology, Goethe declared his preference for the idea of Trieb (drive) as representing the developmental dynamic of living nature, in contrast to Kraft (force), which indicated a material principle that could not explain organization. [3]

Animate thermodynamics
In modern chemical thermodynamic terms, or rather chnopsological thermodynamic terms, the formative drive theory seems to be a precursor to what we now refer to as Gibbs free energy, the driving force of freely going, earth-bound, isothermal-isobaric, surface-attached, chemical reaction processes, e.g. the human reproduction reaction, a mechanism step of which is depicted adjacent, i.e. breast feeding, an aspect of the turnover rate phenomenon.

References
1. (a) Goethe, Johann. (c.1800). “Bildungstrieb”, in: Scientific Studies (Goethe: the Collected Works, Volume 12) (translator: Douglas Miller) (pg. 35). Princeton University Press, 1988.
(b) Engelstein, Stefani. (2008). Anxious Anatomy: the Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse (pg. 13-14; Goethe, ch. 2). SUNY Press.
2. Blumenbach, Johann. (1781). On the Formative Drive of the Generation Process (Uber den Bildungstieb und das Zeugungsgeschafte) (image). Gottingen: Johann Dieterich.
3. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach – Wikipedia.
4. Richards, Robert J. (2002). The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (pg. 447-48). University of Chicago Press.
5. Humboldt, Alexander. (1795). “The Life Force or the Rhodian genius, a Tale”
(“Die Lebenskraft oder der rhodische Genius, eine Erzahlung”), published in Schiller’s Die Horen.
6. (a) Goethe, Johann. (date). “Bildungstreib”, Zur Morphologie, in Samtliche Werke, 12:100-2.
(b) Richards, Robert J. (2002). The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (pg. 447-48). University of Chicago Press.

External links
‚óŹ Bildungstrieb (German → English) – Wikipedia.

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