This book is oriented by the conviction that Kant should be placed within a framework that has begun to take shape in a number of fields when it comes to thinking about the mid- to late eighteenth century, a framework that can be referred to as “organic thinking” or “organicism.” Organicism can be defined by its view of nature as something that cannot be reduced to a set of mechanical operations. The stage for organicism was historically set by investigations into the connected concerns of natural history and embryogenesis—investigations leading to inevitable conclusions regarding nature’s vitality and power. At this point, there are numerous accounts of “epigenesist poetry” and “epigenesist literature;” there are political theorists who speak of “Enlightenment vitalism,” and the utopian literature of the period is said to employ “the language of epigenesis” when describing the ideal society.
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