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title SUMMARY /title

Between the thirties and forties of this century, drawing on a number of studies of perception and phenomena of sensory illusion, the neurophysiologist Viktor von Weizsacker developed a conception of organic matter which was fundamentally different to the physiological and biological tradition of his time. For this reason, his theory of the Gestaltkreis required a profound revision of the methodological and conceptual instruments to be used in the study of man, and of the organism more generally. The organic entity is not a comparible object to the entities of physics, and its analysis cannot be subjected to the same criteria and methods of that science. This being is properly termed a biological act, a dynamic reality whose structure is circular and cannot be divided into different phases connected by means of causal relationships. Organic processes involve a particular relationship between the biological entity and its environment, and as a consequence it is impossible to remove it from its context. Instead, it is necessary to evaluate the spatial and temporal positions in which it is located in new, non-objective terms. Weizscker's conception, sensitive to the movement of neovitalism (to which he was nonetheless firmly opposed) and to ideas typical of Romantic science, is essentially opposed to the legacy of mechanism, in the name of a biology as the science of a peculiar object, of which one cannot ignore the subjective component.

Affiliations: 1: Firenze


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