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The theory or doctrine that life processes arise from or contain a nonmaterial vital principle and cannot be explained entirely as physical and chemical phenomena.

vi′tal·ist adj. & n.
vi′tal·is′tic adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.vitalist - one who believes in vitalism
believer, truster - a supporter who accepts something as true
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The production is a collaboration with Vitalist Theatre.
The book describes revivalist practices related to sacred groves and rivers for conversion and baptism, contemplation of nature, and vitalist practices of healing, such as mineral springs, hydrotherapy, and other water cures.
This debate was continued in the twentieth century by organicism and systems thinking in biology, which emphasized a holistic view replacing the earlier vitalist views.
This analysis uncovers the centrality of vitalist theories and concepts of embodiment across the literary and philosophical texts of Miguel de Unamuno, Pio Baroja, and Ramon Gomez de la Serna, couched in the context of degeneration theory and regeneration.
Goldstein rescues the poem for the history of science by reading it, like Blake's visions, as a poetic argument against "the vitalist celebration of new, powerful, and self-organizing life" (148); and, like Goethe's morphological writings, as shifting the focus from the formative life-force to the de-forming processes of senescence, decay, and decomposition.
The succeeding chapters trace how this synaesthesic imperative in the arts was incited by Romanticism, immensely intensified by Wagner (and Nietzsche), and given a postreligious or vitalist gloss by the symbolists, and then how it skirted kitsch in the numerous early twentieth-century American experiments with dancing bodies.
One photograph, a clarion call for art that is vitalist and socially charged rather than drily conceptualist, shows 'Rimbaud' standing in front of a graffito bearing a quotation from Joseph Beuys, 'The Silence of Marcel Duchamp is Overrated'.
In particular, she is interested in what she terms a "vitalist pragmatic" (p.
The article argues that in order to understand these processes, it is necessary to look at evictions and resistance from a vitalist and grounded point of view, taking the urban mechanosphere as a full actant of these processes.
Driesch was, like Bergson (whom he cited several times), a 'critical'--not a naive" vitalist. "These critical vitalists" [Driesch and Bergson] "distinguished from 'naive' vitalists who posit as the source of life a spiritual force or soul, understand nature as more than a machine and in principle beyond calculation, even as they remain committed to scientific knowledge".
Hulme, like Maritain, retained a place for a vitalist component in his renewed orthodoxy, registering Aquinas's distinction between faith and reason (Mead 15).