The Mechanistic Conception of Life (1912), by Jacques Loeb
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Jacques Loeb published The Mechanistic Conception of Life in 1912. Loeb's goal for the book was to further disseminate his explanations of organic processes, such as embryonic development and organisms orientations to their environments, which relied on physics and chemistry. Loeb also wanted to provide an alternative explanatory framework to vitalism and what he called romantic evolutionism, then both widespread. Loeb mined his work on tropisms and artificial parthenogenesis, both of which he considered central to biology, to show that physicochemical explanations accounted for some of the most perplexing organic phenomena. Thus, for those processes, anyone who appealed to vitalism or romantic evolutionism offered impotent explanations. The Mechanistic Conception of Life established Loeb's widespread reputation as a mechanist, both to the public and to generations of biologists.