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Explanation and demonstration in the Haller-Wolff debate

In Justin E. H. Smith (ed.), The Problem of Animal Generation in Early Modern Philosophy. Cambridge University Press (2006)

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  1. Folding Into Being: Early Embryology and the Epistemology of Rhythm.Janina Wellmann - 2015 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 37 (1):17-33.
    Historians have often described embryology and concepts of development in the period around 1800 in terms of “temporalization” or “dynamization”. This paper, in contrast, argues that a central epistemological category in the period was “rhythm”, which played a major role in the establishment of the emerging discipline of biology. I show that Caspar Friedrich Wolff’s epigenetic theory of development was based on a rhythmical notion, namely the hypothesis that organic development occurs as a series of ordered rhythmical repetitions and variations. (...)
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  • Axiomatic Natural Philosophy and the Emergence of Biology as a Science.Hein van den Berg & Boris Demarest - 2020 - Journal of the History of Biology 53 (3):379-422.
    Ernst Mayr argued that the emergence of biology as a special science in the early nineteenth century was possible due to the demise of the mathematical model of science and its insistence on demonstrative knowledge. More recently, John Zammito has claimed that the rise of biology as a special science was due to a distinctive experimental, anti-metaphysical, anti-mathematical, and anti-rationalist strand of thought coming from outside of Germany. In this paper we argue that this narrative neglects the important role played (...)
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  • Introduction: sketches of a conceptual history of epigenesis.Antonine Nicoglou & Charles T. Wolfe - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (4):64.
    This is an introduction to a collection of articles on the conceptual history of epigenesis, from Aristotle to Harvey, Cavendish, Kant and Erasmus Darwin, moving into nineteenth-century biology with Wolff, Blumenbach and His, and onto the twentieth century and current issues, with Waddington and epigenetics. The purpose of the topical collection is to emphasize how epigenesis marks the point of intersection of a theory of biological development and a theory of active matter. We also wish to show that the concept (...)
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  • Wilhelm His and mechanistic approaches to development at the time of Entwicklungsmechanik.Jean-Claude Dupont - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):21.
    At the end of the nineteenth century, approaches from experimental physiology made inroads into embryological research. A new generation of embryologists felt urged to study the mechanisms of organ formation. This new program, most prominently defended by Wilhelm Roux, was called Entwicklungsmechanik. Named variously as “causal embryology”, “physiological embryology” or “developmental mechanics”, it catalyzed the movement of embryology from a descriptive science to one exploring causal mechanisms. This article examines the specific scientific and epistemological meaning of the mechanistic approaches of (...)
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  • From Physiology to Classification: Comparative Anatomy and Vicq d'Azyr's Plan of Reform for Life Sciences and Medicine. [REVIEW]Stéphane Schmitt - 2009 - Science in Context 22 (2):145-193.
    ArgumentHere I analyze the anatomical thought of the French physician and naturalist Félix Vicq d'Azyr in order to bring to light its importance in the development of comparative anatomy at the end of the eighteenth century. I argue that his work and career can be understood as an ambitious program for a radical reform of all biomedical sciences and a reorganization of this whole field around comparative anatomy, on the conceptual as well as the institutional level. In particular, he recommended (...)
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