Vitalism is the belief in life outside of the controls of the laws of physics and chemistry. A way to explain the boundary between faith and science.

One of the biggest ideas of it was that Organic compounds were compounds that could only be manufacutured in a living organism.

It was a paradigm of science, and started to crumble when it was discovered that Organic compounds could be synthesized, when it was common “knowlege” in the ninteenth century that it could not be.

Vitalism eventually collapsed as more and more complex organic compounds were synthesized, creating the new branch called Organic Chemistry.

Vi"tal*ism (?), n. Biol.

The doctrine that all the functions of a living organism are due to an unknown vital principle distinct from all chemical and physical forces.

 

© Webster 1913.

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