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The Gestation of German BiologyPhilosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling$
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John H. Zammito

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226520797

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226520827.001.0001

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Animism and Organism: G. E. Stahl and the Halle Medical Faculty

Animism and Organism: G. E. Stahl and the Halle Medical Faculty

(p.13) Chapter One Animism and Organism: G. E. Stahl and the Halle Medical Faculty
The Gestation of German Biology

John H. Zammito

University of Chicago Press

A new impulse in life science originated in Germany at the outset of the eighteenth century with the articulation of the idea of organism by G.E. Stahl at the Halle medical school. That development can only be grasped historically in terms of the conflict of Pietism and Enlightenment that gripped the new University of Halle from its founding in 1694 to the middle of the century. Dominated by the Halle Anstalten of August Hermann Francke, the University of Halle entered crisis in the conflict of Francke’s Pietism with the rationalist philosophy of Christian Wolff, leading to the latter’s expulsion in 1723. Francke’s Waisenhaumedizin fused with the medical theory of Stahl to set the frame for the Halle medical faculty. This ended with the restoration of Wolff by Frederick II in 1740, whereupon much of the intellectual energy of the university was siphoned off to the Berlin Academy. This chapter traces the development of the medical faculty at Halle, then concentrates on the thought of Stahl on organism, culminating in his famous debate with Gottfried Leibniz on this question in the second decade of the century.

Keywords:   Georg Ernst Stahl, Friedrich Hoffmann, Pietism, Halle medical faculty, August Hermann Francke, Waisenhausmedizin, mechanism, animism, organism, Gottfried Leibniz

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