Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

a distinct organism producing these species. Everywhere in the 
animal, as well as in the vegetable kingdom, we see manifested a per¬ 
fect unity in the general plan, together with all logical modifications 
in the realisation of it: yet each of the various species which constitute 
a genus, cannot depart from its own specific type of structure and 
mode of action; so that the species ceases to exist as soon as all living 
individuals belonging to it and their germs havfe perished. Except in 
this sense, the species is immortal; since the vital force or principle” 
which creates and maintains its organisation is successively imparted 
by the perishing, parent organisms, to the new beings which they 
The action of the vital principle which forms organic beings in con¬ 
formity with determinate ideas, is known to us only by its effects in 
organic beings. If organic forms were produced spontaneously and 
independently of organisms already existing, we should have the phe¬ 
nomenon of a vital force operating in conformity with determinate 
ideas, elsewhere than in living organic beings. But the doctrine of the 
generatio æquivoca is constantly losing ground before the advances of 
strict investigation, and preserves merely the form of an hypothesis alike 
destitùte of proof and incapable of demonstration. 
It is in no way probable that the vital principle which produces the definite com¬ 
pound structure of an organism is itself a compound of distinct parts; and the same 
may be said of the sentient mental principle of animals. That which owes its in¬ 
tegrity to its compound structure, must be rendered imperfect by division; but the 
organising principle of a plant or animal may be divided at the same time with the 
plant or animal in which it resides, and yet retain all its organising power. Thus 
the parts of a divided polype or planaria become, or are from the moment of their divi¬ 
sion, independent organic beings endowed with the power of producing the proper 
organisation of their species. So it is likewise with the sentient and thinking 
principle of animals; if indeed that principle is distinct from the vital principle. It 
cannot be a compound of different parts; for if it were, the division of an animal 
would necessarily destroy its integrity; and we know that an animal may be divided, 
and yet the mental principle in each portion remain perfect, manifesting sensation, 
volition, and desires. Whatever is true with regard to the mental principle of other 
animals, may be predicated of the mind of man; for everything which feels and moves 
voluntarily in accordance with its desires, is endowed with a mind. Such, indeed, 
was the remark of Aristotle, who, in his Essay on the Mind, says: “ As soon as they 
feel, they must have thoughts and desires; for where there is sensation, there must be 
pain and pleasure; and where these exist, desires must exist likewise.” 
The vital principle and the mind or mental principle of animals resemble each other, 
therefore, in this respect: they exist throughout the mass of the organism wrhich they 
animate; but, unlike it, are not composed of separate parts, and when divided toge¬ 
ther with the organism, do not suffer any diminution or change of their powers. 
In a former part of this work, it has been proved that the vital principle has not its 
special seat in any other organ. The facts adduced in support of this position were the 
following:—First, the presence and activity of the vital principle in the germ before 
any organs are developed, and in anencephalous and acephalous monsters; secondly, 
the persistence of life in separated fragments of animals and plants, and the development 
of these fragments into perfect organisms; and, lastly, the phenomenon of the spontane¬ 
ous organisation of the germ of the higher animals and man after its separation from 
the parent system. The separation of the germ from the parent is an instance of true 
division of an organism; the part separated in this case merely differing from the 
sprout cut from a plant, or the fragment of a divided animal in its possessing only the 
organising power, but not the already organised structure. The same force is in action 
in both cases. The circumstance of the stimulus to organisation being afforded to 
the germ by fructification, and the existence of distinct male and female sexes, are


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