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Article
July 7, 1917

The Organism as a Whole from a Physicochemical Viewpoint.

JAMA. 1917;LXIX(1):63. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590280065034

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Abstract

One of the things which has characterized the development of modern biologic science has been the adoption by the workers in this field of the methods of physics, chemistry and physical chemistry used in the so-called exact sciences. A more recent and perfectly logical step has been the adoption of the physicist's mechanistic attitude of mind with regard to the interpretation of the results obtained from such studies, not alone for a single physiologic process or the action of an individual organ, but also for the behavior of the organism as a whole and, indeed, for the behavior of the species or of the whole animal kingdom, including what is understood by the term "adaptation." Loeb sees the organism as primarily and fundamentally a physicochemical system which, subjected to various external stimuli, natural or experimental, gives rise to modes of individual or racial behavior, not essentially adaptive in their nature

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