Physiological Assimilation
Physiological Assimilation
    Physiological Assimilation
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Physiological Assimilation
    In this sense the word may be defined as that vital function by which an organism changes nutrient material into living protoplasm.
    Most modern scientists admit that the notion of assimilation is not exhausted by the eventual chemical changes that may take place. Their definition of assimilation, moreover, is most frequently the true expression of reality. To give but one instance, the physiologist Rosenthal defines assimilation as the "peculiar property common to all cells of bringing forth from different materials substances specifically similar to those which pre-exist in those cells". But, in further explaining the concept of assimilation, they frequently mistake its true nature and deny again what they conceded before. In other words, they often refuse to acknowledge that food, in being changed into living substance, participates in properties which in themselves are of a nature totally different from the forces of inorganic matter.
    Our reason for disapproving this view rests on the fact that, while the action of inorganic matter is essentially of a transient nature, and passes from subject to subject, the same inanimate matter acquires by the process of assimilation the faculty "of acting on itself, of developing and perfecting itself by its own motion, or of acting immanently". That is, the action proceeds from an internal principle and "does not pass into a foreign subject, but perfects the agent." The activities implies in the nutrition of an animal really proceed from it. It spontaneously moves about and selects among a thousand solid particles a definite kind and quantity of food in strict proportion to its own needs, and appropriates it in a suitable manner. Then, in anticipation of a definite end to be realized, it elaborates from the food the chemical constituents to be used for the renewal and increase of its protoplasm, rejecting the rest in a suitable manner. Thus the entire action proceeds from the animal and finally serves, or tends to serve, no other purpose than to maintain the integrity of its protoplasm and to give it the total perfection of the species. On the other hand, it is evident that such immanent actions belong to a sphere totally different from the transient actions of which alone inorganic matter is capable. If inorganic matter is to act, it must be acted upon, and the reaction is mathematically equal to the action. It is, therefore, merely passive. But organisms act, even if no action is exerted upon them from without; and if an action results from stimulation, the reaction is not equal to the action, nor is, in fact, the stimulation the adequate cause of the action. In this activity, however, we need not assume a production and accumulation of new material energy. The activity of the vital principle in the processes of assimilation simply consists in directing the constant transformation of existing material energy towards definite ends and according to a definite plan of organization. In other words, the algebraic sum of all the energy in the universe is not altered by the living principle. Nor are the elements changed in their nature and mutual action. They require the faculty of an immanent action merely inasmuch as they are and remain parts of living cells. Thus, through assimilation they become subject to a higher principle which in constant agreement with their own physical and chemical laws directs them towards the uniform perfection of the entire organism.
    Rosenthal, Allgemeine Physiologie (1901), 392; Pesch, Institutiones psycholog icoe, Pars I, lib. I, 144; Maher, Psychology (1895), 510.
    H. MUCKERMANN
    Transcribed by William D. Neville

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Assimilation, Physiological — • The vital function by which an organism changes nutrient material into living protoplasm Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Assimilation (linguistics) — Sound change and alternation Metathesis Quantitative metathesis …   Wikipedia

  • assimilation —    The term assimilation comes from the Latin verb assimilare, which means to equalize. It was used by the German father of psychology Wilhelm Wundt (1832 1920) to denote the physiological process that enables the mind to fill in any blanks and… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Sulfur assimilation — Sulfate reduction and assimilation in plants (APS, adenosine 5 phosphosulfate; Fdred, Fdox, reduced and oxidized ferredoxin; RSH, RSSR, reduced and oxidized glutathione)|right|325pxSulfur is an essential element for growth and physiological… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychological Assimilation —     Psychological Assimilation     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Psychological Assimilation     As applied to a mental process, assimilation derives all its force and meaning from the analogy which many educationists have found to exist between the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • biosphere — biospheric /buy euh sfer ik/, adj. /buy euh sfear /, n. 1. the part of the earth s crust, waters, and atmosphere that supports life. 2. the ecosystem comprising the entire earth and the living organisms that inhabit it. [1895 1900; < G Biosphäre; …   Universalium

  • photosynthesis — photosynthetic /foh teuh sin thet ik/, adj. photosynthetically, adv. /foh teuh sin theuh sis/, n. Biol., Biochem. (esp. in plants) the synthesis of complex organic materials, esp. carbohydrates, from carbon dioxide, water, and inorganic salts,… …   Universalium

  • Insulin — This article is about the insulin protein. For uses of insulin in treating diabetes, see insulin therapy. Not to be confused with inulin. Insulin Computer generated image of six insulin molecules assembled in a hexamer, highlighting the threefold …   Wikipedia

  • Alcoholism — • The term is understood to include all the changes that may occur in the human organism after the ingestion of any form of alcohol Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Alcoholism     Alcoholism …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • linguistics — /ling gwis tiks/, n. (used with a sing. v.) the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics. [1850 55; see LINGUISTIC, ICS] * * * Study of the nature and structure of… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”