Matter, Life, and Generation: Eighteenth-Century Embryology and the Haller-Wolff Debate
In the eighteenth century, two rival theories of organic generation existed. The 'preformationists' believed that all embryos had been formed by God at the Creation and encased within one another to await their future appointed time of development, while the 'epigenesists' argued that each embryo is newly produced through gradual development from unorganized material. The most important clash between the two schools, the debate between Albrecht von Haller (1708-77) and Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1734-94), crystallized many of the key issues of eighteenth-century biology - the role of mechanism in biological explanation, the relationship of God to His Creation, the question of spontaneous generation, the problems of regeneration, hybrids, and monstrous births. In this book, Professor Roe takes the debate beyond its observational basis and shows that at issue were not only specific embryological problems but also fundamental philosophical questions about the natural world and the way science should explain it.
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Introduction mechanism and embryology
Halters changing views on embryology
The embryological debate
The philosophical debate Newtonianism versus rationalism
Wolffs later work on variation and heredity
Epilogue the old and the new
Adelmann allantois animalcules appear area vasculosa argument attractive force auricle blood vessels Bonnet MSS Buffon's theory building force Caspar Friedrich Wolff cause century Christian Wolff controversy Descartes discussions dissertation eighteenth eighteenth-century Elementa physiologiae embryo embryological development epigenesis epigenesist epigenetic essential force exist experiments explain fetus Figure foramen ovale Gaissinovitch germs gradual Haller and Wolff Haller-Wolff debate heart hybrids illustrious incubated chicken eggs inferior vena cava intestines irritability living organisms Malebranche Malpighi material Maupertuis mechanical mechanistic ment monsters movement of fluids nature Needham Newton Newtonian organic bodies organism's orifice original parent particles Petersburg phenomena philosophical plants and animals polyp preexistence preformation preformationist Primae lineae produced qualified vegetable matter right sinus scholium semen solidification soul species structure substance theory of epigenesis tion trans transparent umbilical ventricle visible vitelline membrane vols Wolff asserts Wolff believed Wolff claims Wolff maintains Wolff's theory Wolff's views yolk sac yolk-sac membranes