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The mechanist view of human health is that the body functions as a machine which obeys fixed laws. The phenomenon of life is believed to be explained exclusively as the product of a complex series of chemcial and physical reactions. [1] From this perspective, only the physical or biological causes and tangible parts are considered. The mechanist approach supports the idea that you can simply remove 'faulty' parts or 'damaged' secretions of the human body without it affecting other aspects.

The mechanist view is also typically assocated with the concepts of reductionism and linear causality. These concepts define the basis of biomedical science including conventional medicine. Mechanistic medicine identifies disease and its accompanying signs and symptoms as simply the result of a disruption in chemical or physical functions.[1] There is little focus on the cause of disease being due to environment, social stressors, external factors and anything intangible. The goals of treatment, from a mechanistic perspective, is to remove the signs and symptoms and to destroy any pathogenic agent.

The basis of mechanistic thinking is often contrasted with the concept of vitalism which is the basis of naturopathic medicine.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bradley Randall S. Philosophy of naturopathic medicine In Pizzorno Joseph E and Murray Michael T (1999) Textbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone