Pronunciation: (vīt'l-iz"um), [key]
1. the doctrine that phenomena are only partly controlled by mechanical forces, and are in some measure self-determining. Cf. dynamism (def. 1), mechanism (def. 8).
2. Biol.a doctrine that ascribes the functions of a living organism to a vital principle distinct from chemical and physical forces.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.