Article ID: CBB001252692

The Aesthetics of Laboratory Inscription: Claude Bernard's Cahier Rouge (2013)


This essay explores the aesthetic sensibilities of the French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813--1878). In particular, it analyzes the Cahier Rouge (1850--1860), Bernard's acclaimed laboratory notebook. In this notebook, Bernard articulates the range of his experience as an experimental physiologist, juxtaposing without differentiation details of laboratory procedure and more personal queries, doubts, and reflections on experimentation, life, and art. Bernard's insights, it is argued, offer an aesthetic and phenomenological template for considering experimentation. His physiological point of view ranges from his own bodily aesthesis or sensory perception, through personal reflections on scientific discovery as an artistic process, to a broader metaphysical conception of life as an artistic creation. Such an aesthetic approach to physiology enables Bernard to reconcile his empirical methodology and his romantic idealism; it offers the history of laboratory science a framework for considering the individual, bodily, and emotional labor inherent in physiological experimentation.

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Authors & Contributors
Browne, E. Janet
Cohen, Claudine
Fischer, Jean-Louis
Corsi, Pietro
Schmidgen, Henning
Loison, Laurent
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Histoire des Sciences Médicales
Intersezioni: Rivista di Storia delle ldee
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Éditions du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
UNICAMP, Centro de Lógica, Epistemologia e História da Ciência
Edizioni Milella
McGill University (Canada)
Experimental biology
Philosophy of medicine
Animal physiology
Bernard, Claude
Pasteur, Louis
Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg
Mélier, François
Jussieu, Antoine Laurent de
Cuvier, Georges
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
Berlin (Germany)
Paris (France)
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
Université de Montpellier

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