Thesis ID: CBB001567389

Experimenting with Chemical Bodies: Science, Medicine, and Philosophy in the Long History of Reinier De Graaf's Experiments on Digestion, from Harvey and Descartes to Claude Bernard (2012)


Ragland, Evan R. (Author)

Newman, William R.
Gliboff, Sander
Indiana University
Newman, William R.
Schickore, Jutta
Gliboff, Sander
Bertoloni Meli, Domenico
Schickore, Jutta

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Advisor: Bertoloni Meli, Domenico; Committee Members: Newman, William R., Schickore, Jutta, Gliboff, Sander.
Physical Details: 622 pp.
Language: English

This study follows the long history of an experiment from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. Historians have produced long histories of scientific ideas and local histories of scientific practices. Here, combining intellectual and cultural historical approaches allows us to follow practices diachronically across contexts. The medical and philosophical investigations and controversies in and around the work of Franciscus Dele Boë Sylvius constitute the local prehistory. Following William Harvey, Sylvius and colleagues such as Johannes Walaeus developed novel methods for generating medical and philosophical knowledge from experimentation. They often mutually opposed prominent Cartesians, such as Cornelis van Hogelande, who privileged ratiocination over experimentation. Sylvius's clinical pedagogy and medical and chymical experimentation provided the inspiration for Reinier de Graaf's work. Student disputations--most authored by the students--from Leiden offer a new picture of the competitive, collaborative, and highly experimental culture of students and professors. Merging chymistry and anatomy, de Graaf constructed and used hybrids of chymical instruments and living dogs like chymical distillation furnaces for the production of the supposedly acidic pancreatic juice. Former friends and distant foes attacked de Graaf's claims to the matters of fact about the pancreas and its juice. Florentius Schuyl, Johann Conrad Brunner, and Johannes Pechlin receive new analyses here. Sylvius's acid-alkali medicine, rooted in Joan Baptista van Helmont's medical chymistry, persisted among a family of similar chymical systems. This study reveals the important role of taste in assaying chymical substances, and the often disgusting and uncivil nature of early modern European medical experimentation. De Graaf's experiment re-emerged in the early nineteenth century, as physiologists used his approach to solve problems in their own discipline. Even Claude Bernard used de Graaf's methods, and extended the older styles of experimentation into the milieu intérieure and his new scientific medicine. De Graaf's work on the pancreas and its juice remained his icon of the experimental approach to the medicine and science of living bodies. Tracking the history of de Graaf's experiment affords new insights into the nature of early modern experimental culture, the status of experiments as historical entities, and the origins of modern experimental medicine.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 74/06(E), Dec 2013. Proquest Document ID: 1312344588.

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Authors & Contributors
Bertucci, Paola
Pancaldi, Giuliano
Guerrero, Saúl
Roberts, Lissa Louise
Hochadel, Oliver
Heering, Peter
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Anales de la Real Sociedad Española de Química
Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna
Johns Hopkins University
Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino
Experiments and experimentation
Mechanism; mechanical philosophy
Descartes, René
Harvey, William
Spallanzani, Lazzaro
Graaf, Regnier de
Malpighi, Marcello
Marat, Jean Paul
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
16th century
19th century
Early modern
20th century
Great Britain
Herzog August Bibliothek

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