In 1686, Gottfried Leibniz introduced the term “vis viva”, aka "living force", into physics dialogue, as the quantity of the mass m of a moving object and the square of its velocity v, formulated as follows:
This was a parallel to the term “vis mortua” or dead force. This term was specifically employed with reference to steel balls being dropped, rolled down inclined plains, or collided elastically with other balls, or inelastically with a clay surface.
In 1774, Friedrich Medicus introduced term lebenskraft, a portmanteau of the German lebens meaning “life” or “alive” + kraft meaning “force”, conceptualized as the force responsible for subconscious or autonomic processes, in organisms, such as digestion and respiration. This so-called "lebens force" was paralleled with the “soul”, which Medicus believed was responsible for consciousness. Hence, a person was moved or automated, according to Medicus, via a combination of the soul and a “life force”, a term alternatively as “living force” (verb form) or "vital force" (Greek based), depending on translator.
Greek + German = Definition?
After Leibniz, and his Greek-based life definitions, and Medicus, and his German-based life definitions, a peculiar tendency arose to define "life" using a mixture of Greek and German words so to make a circular definition that passed as a patch description, to the average mind.
Beliefs | Polls
In 2010, global polls showed that France had the highest rate (40%) of population disbelief in either "god, spirit, and life force".
- Hunter, Graeme. (2000). Vital Forces: the Discovery of the Molecular Basis of Life (pgs. 55). Academic Press.
- Meierhenrich, Uwe J. (2012). “Life in its Uniqueness Remains Difficult to Define in Scientific Terms” (pdf), Journal of Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics, 29(4):641-42.
- (a) Roose, Theodore. (1797). Outlines of the Theory of Life Force (Grundzüge von der Lehre von der Lebenskraft). Braunschweig.
(b) Sydow, Momme von. (2012). From Darwinian Metaphysics towards Understanding the Evolution of Evolution Mechanisms (pg. 88). Gottingen University.
- (a) Anon. (2010). “Eurobarometer” (pdf), TNS Opinion, Oct.
(b) Religion in the European Union (Religiosity) – Wikipedia.
- Life force – Hmolpedia 2020.