Definition of vitalism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvīdlˌizəm/


The theory that the origin and phenomena of life are dependent on a force or principle distinct from purely chemical or physical forces.
Example sentences
  • Energy medicines are based upon variants of the metaphysical theory known as vitalism, a theory that has been dead in the West for over a century.
  • Since the demise of vitalism, we do not think of life per se as something distinct from living things.
  • But for long after that the elaborate organization of living things remained daunting and mysterious, and left plenty of room for vitalism as a respectable concept.



Pronunciation: /ˈvīd(ə)list/
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • Contrary to what your consult implies in his response, I am not a vitalist, a reductionist, or a physicalist.
  • However, energy theorists and other vitalists are no closer to uncovering the truth behind our existence than the rest of us.
  • However, as with all such models, danger lurks in vitalist assumptions that lead in turn to technological and social determinism.


Pronunciation: /ˌvīd(ə)lˈistik/
Example sentences
  • All invoke extremely speculative theories from modern cosmology, quantum mechanics, vitalistic theories of biology and parapsychology, and other fringe sciences.
  • The hospice philosophy is explicitly not vitalistic.
  • From this less vitalistic perspective, lost blood might be replaced by fluids that would refill the circulatory system while avoiding nasty coagulation.


Early 19th century: from French vitalisme, or from vital + -ism.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: vi·tal·ism

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