Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Instinct in early modern literature, philosophy, and biology was, depending on the context in which it arose, an indeterminate and even dubious concept. The term derives from the scholastic Middle Latin instinctus or Latin instinguere (“to instigate”, “to impel”), and its roots lie in ancient theories of the animal soul, especially the Stoic one according to which drives were naturally fulfilled by animals and people, but not by plants. In German, Instinkt in the 18th century came to replace the earlier Naturtrieb (literally “natural drive”), and it covered a broad spe…

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Ingensiep, Hans Werner, “Instinct”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 03 February 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_021462>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190124

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