The physiological gradient is a case of protoplasmic memory since it represents the persistence of the effects of environmental action. The establishment of a gradient in a protoplasm may be regarded as a process of learning. Charles m. child
In what has already been said, we have emphasized repeatedly the 'organism-as-a-whole' principle. The principle is structural, involving most important semantic factors and so deserves a more detailed consideration.
Since the days of Aristotle, more than two thousand years ago, this principle has been often emphasized, often belittled, but, withal, seldom applied. That all we know about life and organisms seems to justify such a principle seems obvious.
The arguments of those experimentalists who belittle or object to such a principle seem to be all of a similar type, and are, perhaps, best expressed by Professor H. S. Jennings, who, in his friendly review of Ritter's book on the Organismal Conception of Life, concludes that such an 'organismal conception' is quite justified, but is entirely sterile and does not help laboratory workers.
It must be granted that at the date when the book of Ritter and the review of Jennings were written such a statement was seemingly justified. The principle is usually treated as a rough generalization from experience and is not analysed further; the structural, epistemological, psycho-logical and semantic consequences were not known, and so the laboratory workers actually did not realize that they have much help.
As we have already seen, the main semantic issues were, and are, structural. How can we apply the organism-as-a-whole principle if we insist on keeping an el language and attitude ? Naturally, if the principle is not applied, it is futile to look for semantic consequences of a non-applied principle. But once the principle is applied, a new language has to be built, of different structure and, therefore, new implications, which suggest a long series of new experiments.
A new and structurally different theory may be summarized in a single term - as, for instance, 'tropism' or 'dynamic gradient', a fact which not only revolutionizes our knowledge but which leads also to entirely new experiments and further knowledge. Experiments, as such,