Jacques Loeb: His Science and Social Activism and Their Philosophical Foundations, Volume 229

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American Philosophical Society, 1998 - Philosophy - 176 pages
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Rman born, Jacques Loeb was both a biologist (nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1901) & political activist. Drawing on his correspondence, the authors highlight Loeb's organizational actions & political opinions during the years of 1906 to 1924, the year of his death. As a social activist & scientist, Loeb influenced, Rasmussen & Tilman say, "the scientific community, the politically sensitive public, & ultimately the underlying population against conservative & reactionary attitudes toward race, ethnicity, poverty, criminality, war & religion." In chapters on Loeb's research agenda, position on World War I, social activism, his influence on the economist Thorstein Veblen & finally on his philosophy & politics, the authors sketch a man who was hailed early in his career for his work on spontaneous generation of marine embryos & recognized later for his active challenge to social intolerance.

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Page 102 - Not only is the mechanistic conception of life compatible with ethics: it seems the only conception of life which can lead to an understanding of the source of ethics.
Page 102 - If our existence is based on the play of blind forces and only a matter of chance; if we ourselves are only chemical mechanisms — how can there be an ethics for us?
Page 129 - C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow...
Page 108 - ... course, is there any intention to allege that it is to be traced back in the physiological respect to some one isolable tropismatic sensibility or some single enzymotic or visceral stimulus. All that is matter for the attention of those whom it may concern. The expression...
Page 107 - It is evident that there is no sharp line of demarkation between reflexes and instincts. We find that authors prefer to speak of reflexes in cases where the reaction of single parts or organs of an animal to external stimuli is concerned; while they speak of instincts where the reaction of the animal as a whole is involved (as is the case in tropisms).
Page 99 - That in the case of our inner life a physico-chemical explanation is not beyond the realm of possibility is proved by the fact that it is already possible for us to explain cases of simple manifestations of animal instinct and will on a physico-chemical basis; namely, the phenomena which I have discussed in former papers under the name of animal tropisms. As the most simple example we may mention the tendency of certain animals to fly or creep to the light. We are dealing in this case with the manifestation...
Page 99 - In spite of the gulf which separates us today from such an aim I believe that it is attainable. As long as a life phenomenon has not yet found a physico-chemical explanation it usually appears inexplicable. If the veil is once lifted we are always surprised that we did not guess from the first what was behind it.
Page 11 - The book is dedicated to that group of freethinkers, including d'Alembert, Diderot, Holbach, and Voltaire, who first dared to follow the consequences of a mechanistic science — incomplete as it then was — to the rules of human conduct and who thereby laid the foundation of that spirit of tolerance, justice, and gentleness which was the hope of our civilization until it was buried under the wave of homicidal emotion which has swept through the world.
Page 108 - For the present inquiry it is enough to note that in human behaviour this disposition is effective in such consistent, ubiquitous and resilient fashion that students of human culture will have to count with it as one of the integral hereditary traits of mankind.
Page 19 - I believe that the investigation of the conditions which produce tropisms may be of importance for psychiatry. If we can call forth in an animal otherwise indifferent to light by means of an acid a heliotropism which drives it irresistibly into a flame; if the same thing can be brought about by means of a secretion of the reproductive glands...

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