Disentangling the Vitalism–Emergentism Knot


DOI: 10.1007/s10838-017-9361-4

Cite this article as:
Sartenaer, O. J Gen Philos Sci (2017). doi:10.1007/s10838-017-9361-4


Starting with the observation that there exist contradictory claims in the literature about the relationship between vitalism and emergentism—be it one of inclusion or, on the contrary, exclusion–, this paper aims at disentangling the vitalism–emergentism knot. To this purpose, after having described a particular form of emergentism, namely Lloyd Morgan’s emergent evolutionism, I develop a conceptual analysis on the basis of a distinction between varieties of monism and pluralism. This analysis allows me to identify and characterize several forms of vitalism and emergentism, and a subsequent comparison between these forms constitutes the occasion for a clarification of the relationship between both doctrines.


Vitalism Emergentism Emergence Emergent evolutionism 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Fonds De La Recherche Scientifique - FNRS (BE)

    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

    Authors and Affiliations

    1. 1.Institut supérieur de PhilosophieCollège MercierLouvain-La-NeuveBelgium

    Personalised recommendations