Charles Bonnet and Leibniz's Notion of Organism

François Duchesneau


This article takes into account Leibniz's notion of organism and its impact on Charles Bonnet's Considérations sur les corps oganisés (1762).Leibniz adopted mechanical,dynamical and teleological views to explain the structure and function of living bodies.He stressed the idea of continuity in animal generation,and held a moderate version of preformation in the field of embryology.Organisms are the outcome of the combination of infinite series of microstructures and of their powers.Bonnet adhered to Leibniz's principle of continuity in his investigations on th reproduction of the polyps.It is therefore apparent,as shown by Bonnet, that in the late XVIIIth century,Leibniz's notion of life played an important role in life sciences.


Key Words: Organism - Leibniz - Bonnet - Preformation


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