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The question of vitalism in Georges Canguilhem

Grant number: 18/18189-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Izilda Cristina Johanson
Grantee:Leonardo de Oliveira Santos
Home Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil


This proposal aims at investigating why the research of Georges Canguilhem in epistemology and Sciences of Life has deeply influenced the feeling we have of the totality of French thinking and how it assumed a key role in 20th century French philosophy. We will see that the relevance of his work, notably of his PhD thesis from 1943, contributed not only to the resignification of concepts such as life and normal, but also to the restructuring of vitalism, which was losing influence since the 17th century due to mechanicism, a scientist bias consolidated in the 19th century. The interest of this research consists in investigating the influence of his contribution on the restructuring of vitalism. The first step in this investigation is to verify whether there has been any contribution from Canguilhem to the restructuring of vitalism. Hence, we are interested in confirming the existence of a Canguilhemian vitalism. Considering the possibility of its existence, the need for this research will be answered on two points that deserve investigation. The first point will be the organization of the foundations present in Canguilhem's work that have contributed to the new understanding of vitalism. And because of this organization, in a second moment, we must discover why the Canguilhemian vitalism was so different from the others.

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