ON THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF LIFE by Hilde S. Hein

ON THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hein describes the scientific and philosophical discussions over the nature of life in terms of a Manichean conflict between vitalism and mechanism. Vitalism is mystical while mechanism is practical and down-to-earth. Her positivist approach, based on the belief that problems of philosophy and method are really only questions of language, blurs the real problems biology is dealing with today and the real conflicts in the philosophy of science. To fit all points of view into her Procrustean dichotomy she has labeled all materialist views as ""mechanist,"" a label many materialists would violently object to since it lumps together radically different approaches. Hein supports mechanism throughout but insists naively that it doesn't really matter, since such questions can have no bearing on empirical knowledge. Her oversimplifications and morality-play approach preclude considering this a serious discussion of current biological thought. Loren Graham's Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union (above) deals with the issue of the origin and nature of life far more competently in a single chapter.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1971
Publisher: McGraw-Hill