In his book "Order and Life", J. NEEDHAM describes the ultimate mechanicism subjacent in DRIESCH's vitalistic biology. He writes"… it was DESCARTES who introduced the practice of calling organisms machines, and then postulating trascendent mechanics to drive them "(1958, p. 74)
Of course, in the western culture setting, a unique trascendent Mechanic is finally postulated. This is in deep harmony with monocausal determinism and the concept of a pyramidal (and generally autocratic) model of hierarchy.
One of the most subtle and deepest conceptual mutation of the 20 C. thought has been the recognition of multi-causal (and ultimately chaotic) determinism and network causality. It is not to say that simple determinism and hierarchical organization should be excluded. but they must obviously be inscribed within the more general views as specific and special cases.
The progressive evolution of biology from mechanicism, to vitalism and, further on, to the organismic view (as proposed by WOODGER and BERTALANFFY among others) testifies to the progressive shift away from the machine metaphor to a more holographic one. Let us however beware of possible restrictive effects of an eventual abuse of a dogmatic pure holistic view, carrying along the ghost of the "mechanic"
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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