Scott Turner contends. "To be scientists, we force ourselves into a Hobson’s choice on the matter: accept intentionality and purposefulness as real attributes of life, which disqualifies you as a scientist; or become a scientist and dismiss life’s distinctive quality from your thinking. I have come to believe that this choice actually stands in the way of our having a fully coherent theory of life."
Growing research shows that life's most distinctive quality, shared by all living things, is purpose and desire: maintain homeostasis to sustain life. In Purpose and Desire, Turner draws on the work of Claude Bernard, a contemporary of Darwin revered among physiologists as the founder of experimental medicine, to build on Bernard’s "dangerous idea" of vitalism, which seeks to identify what makes "life" a unique phenomenon of nature. To further its quest to achieve a fuller understanding of life, Turner argues, science must move beyond strictly accepted measures that consider only the mechanics of nature.
A thoughtful appeal to widen our perspective of biology that is grounded in scientific evidence, Purpose and Desire helps us bridge the ideological evolutionary divide.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
1 The Pony Under the Tree 1
2 Biology's Second Law 11
3 Many Little Lives 25
4 A Clockwork Homeostasis 43
5 A Mad Dream 73
6 The Barrier That Wasn't 99
7 The Reverse Pinocchio 127
8 A Multiplicity of Memory 155
9 One Is the Friendliest Number 187
10 The Hand of Whatever 225
11 Plato Street 257
Epilogue: Evolution, Purpose, and Desire 291