Article ID: CBB000933653

Zur Argumentations- und Vermittlungsstrategie in Müllers Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen (2005)


Müller's textbook of human physiology was one of the most important of its kind in the 19th century. Müller not only presented state of the art physiology, but additionally a new approach to physiological experimentation. The aim of physiology was, he maintained, the most complete analysis possible of the physico-chemical reactions that make up the animal body. In practice, he realized, such an analysis was impossible at the time. Yet physiology should adopt just such a reductive approach, describing the various physiological processes as constitutive of the functional morphology of organisms. For this purpose, the nerve-muscle junction proved ideal. Following on from the 18th century study of animal electricity, a particular experimental set-up had become established by the early 19th century, which made possible the examination of reactions at the nerve-muscle junction and thus of the physiology of muscle movement and its control. By this time, the observed reactions were seen as effected life energies or life forces and became burdened by a theoretical overload. Experimental practices showed, however, that these vitalist notions were irrelevant, and as a result the reaction itself became the focus of physiological studies. In the article the strategy by which Müller enfolds his idea of a scientific physiology is reconstructed and the place of experiment and observation in Müllerian physiology is described, outlining physiology as a new prototype of experimental science.

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Authors & Contributors
Schmidgen, Henning
Issitt, John R.
Baly, William
Müller, Johannes Peter
Wade, Nicholas J.
Toshev, B. V.
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Khimiya/Chemistry: Bulgarian Journal of Chemical Education
科学史研究 Kagakusi Kenkyu (History of Science)
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Oxford University Press
UNICAMP, Centro de Lógica, Epistemologia e História da Ciência
Science education and teaching
Experimental biology
Bernard, Claude
Müller, Johannes Peter
Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg
Joyce, Jeremiah
Smith, Alexander
Humboldt, Alexander von
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
Paris (France)
Berlin (Germany)
University of Chicago
Anatomical-zootomical Museum in Berlin
Berlin Zoological Museum

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