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White, W.A. (1925). Physical Biology. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(3):323-330.

(1925). Psychoanalytic Review, 12(3):323-330

Special Review

Physical Biology

Review by:
William A. White

Yet Nature is made better by no mean,

But nature makes that mean: so, over that art

Which you say adds to nature, is an art

That nature makes.

Winter's Tale, Act IV, Sc. 4, L. 89.

This exceedingly stimulating and informing book ushers in a new science—the science of Physical Biology, which term the author suggests (p. 49 f. n.) in contradistinction to Biophysics or “that branch of science which treats of individual life processes” should “be reserved to denote the broader field of the application of physical principles in the study of life-bearing systems as a whole.”

This expression, life-bearing systems as a whole, is the key to the subject matter treated and indicates the breadth of view and thus of necessity the immense material that must come under review in a program based upon such a concept.

In approaching this most comprehensive way of dealing with life the author starts in the first chapter to consider the basic factor of definitions in order to clear the way and leave no misapprehension as to just what he is discussing in the succeeding pages. Definitions are matters of expediency and agreement. Certain pseudo problems of science have owed their origin to the misunderstanding of a problem, supposing it to be a problem of fact when it was only a problem of definition.

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