This book demonstrates how and why vitalism—the idea that life cannot be explained by the principles of mechanism—matters now. Vitalism resists closure and reductionism in the life sciences while simultaneously addressing the object of life itself. The aim of this collection is to consider the questions that vitalism makes it possible to ask: questions about the role and status of life across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities and questions about contingency, indeterminacy, relationality and change. All have special importance now, as the concepts of complexity, artificial life and artificial intelligence, information theory, and cybernetics become increasingly significant in more and more fields of activity.

Pharmaceutical Matters: The Invention of Informed Materials

Pharmaceutical matters: The invention of informed materials
AndrewBarry

Introduction

In comparison to physics and biology, chemistry appears to be a science lacking in theoretical interest. Unlike physics, it does not claim to be concerned with the investigation of fundamental forces and particles. Unlike biology, it does not concern itself primarily with the properties and dynamics of living materials. Indeed, as Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and Isabelle Stengers note in their History of Chemistry (1996), the discipline is often considered merely a ‘service’ science. In one common view, although chemistry did once play a leading role in the development of scientific thought, in the 20th century that role seems to have been displaced by other fields. To be sure, chemistry is a large field ...

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