Max Verworn. The Hypothesis of Biogenesis. Jena, 1903

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 1915

Source: Lenin Collected Works, 4th Edition, Moscow, 1976, Volume 38, pp. 329-330
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: 1930 in Lenin Miscellany. Published according to the manuscript

The remarks on Max Verworn’s book “Die Biogenhypothese”, Jena, 1903 (Max Verworn, The Hypothesis of Biogenesis, Jena, 1903) are contained in a notebook following the note on Volkmann’s book.



JENA, 1903

(Med. 5218)
The author expounds a special theme

concerning “living substance” and its chem-

ical metabolism. A special theme.
cf. p. 9[1]definition of


A bibliography is provided on this question.

P. 112—a “working hypothesis,” this,

he says, is the essence. For example, he

says that materialism in the nineteenth

century was of great benefit to the natural

sciences,—but now “no philosophical nat-

ural scientist any longer considers the ma-

terialist conception to be adequate” (112).

There are no eternal truths. The signifi-

cance of ideas, their Fruchtbarkeit,[3] their

role as a “ferment”—“which creates and

acts.” (113)

|Characteristic here is the naïve ex-

pression of the view that “materialism”

hinders! Not the haziest conception of

dialectical materialism and complete

inability to distinguish materialism as

a philosophy from the individ-

ual hide-bound views of the philistines

of the day who call themselves mate-


The aim of the author is a “mechanical

analysis of the phenomena of life” (p. 1,

Preface)—a reference to the last chapter

of the Allegemeine Physiologie.

Instead of “living protein” (p. 25)—

said to be an unclear concept, and instead

of the “living protein molecule” (“since

a molecule cannot be alive”), the author

proposes to speak of the “biogen-molecule.”

The conversion of the chemical

into the living—that, evidently,

is the crux. In order to move more

freely in this new, still obscure,

hypothetical, down with “material-

ism,” down with antiquated shackl-

ing” ideas (the “molecule”), let

us invent a new term (biogen), in

order to seek new knowledge more

freely! NB. Concerning the ques-

tion of the sources and vital im-

pelling motives of modern “ideal-

ism” in physics and natural science

in general.

  1. Verworn, M., Die Biogenhypothese, Jena, 1903.—Ed.
  2. On page 9 of his book, M. Verworn defines “enzyme” as follows: “Enzymes are products of living substance distinguished by the fact that they can cause a large number of spesific chemical compounds to decompose, without themselves being destroyed in the process.”
  3. fruitfulness—Ed.