AbstractThe psychical researcher William Mackenzie (1877-1971) was born in Genoa of Scottish parents and spent almost his entire life in Italy, while formally remaining a British citizen. He studied at several Italian and European Universities, graduating in Biology and Philosophy, and in 1905 he established a marine biology laboratory in Quarto dei Mille. During that period he published his first important work, Alle Fonti della Vita (To the Sources of Life) (Mackenzie 1912a), and his speculative nature and his passion for the philosophy of biology are already evident. In that work, Mackenzie claims that materialism is insufficient to explain biological phenomena, and he drew the foundations of a neovitalistic theory which asserted the specificity of a biological realm ruled by an intelligent and psychic energy needed to explain the teleological complexity of living organisms.
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