"The organism will react in a purposive way to overcome the stress impinging upon it from the outside, and this reactive capacity is not determined by the physical structure of the body as expressed in its anatomy and its physiology. The body creates new modes of reaction in consequence to the challenge impinging upon it from the outside. In fact, the body can, as it were, create out of nothing (ex nihilo) a way of dealing with external stress."
Harris Coulter discussing vitalism in empirical approaches, The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 9, No.3, 1994