Vitality: A Multi-Layered View

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Yavuz M.

The Third Conference of East European Network for Philosophy of Science, Belgrade, Serbia, 9 - 11 June 2021, pp.152

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Belgrade
  • Country: Serbia
  • Page Numbers: pp.152


In this study, referring to the historical definition of biology that can be considered as the scientific study of life, I will try to put forth some assumptions and explanations in order to give a basic definition of life or vitality. After investigating some relevant terms in the contemporary biology to improve them, I will mention the necessity of revision and distinction in accordance with the given explanations. The first is the need for an update of the term known as “homeostasis” into “homeokinesis”. For this reason, I emphasize some propositions in order to clarify the distinction of meaning. The following three questions were repeated in the motivation and structure of this study: 1) What is vitality? 2) Does it have any degrees or grades? 3) Then what is the fundamental state of life?



In the quest of an answer to these questions, different topics in biology will be mentioned as references. At the same time, by claiming that vitality is an emergent process, I follow the emergentist view, rather than the reductionist view on the statements of biological facts and phenomena. As a result, considering the cell level as a base, in the hierarchy of the biological organization, I put forth a threefold-vitality-view as emergent in the levels of the cell, the organ and the organism. I also count consciousness and memory immanent in every level of the proposed multi-layered model. In this multi-layered view of vitality, I can define vitality as the regulation of the flow process between the internal and external loads of a cell, organ and organism. In addition to this definition, I emphasize that vitality is mechanized by a metabolism to balance the homeokinetic range between the minimum and maximum degrees at the cell, organ and organism levels. Vitality is not only an emergent coordination, but also immanent a type of consciousness and memory in each level. I support the idea that a whole is more than the sum of its parts. Therefore, I give an example from chemistry which provides and effective understanding of some phenomena. Vitality is an emergent phenomenon that occurs within the cell, the organ and the organism consequently. For these three levels, I make an allusion to the anoetic, noetic, and autonoetic consciousness types posited by Tulving (1985) in his APA Award winning study.