Organicism in Biology

Joseph Needhama1

a1 Fellow of Caius College Cambridge

THE word “ Organicism,” although it may seem unfamiliar to the younger generation of biologists, is not a new one, and has been heard of already in that shadowy limbo where philosophical and biological conceptions meet on common ground. The genius of its original minting is not known, but it figured largely in the great work of Yves Delage, the French zoologist, in which he attempted to survey and criticize every important biological theory which had ever been seriously produced. Hisl'Hérédité et les grands Problèmes de la Biologie appeared in 1903, and in it he classified all biological theories, past, present, and future, under the four heads of