© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI : 10.1163/157338208X362697 Early Science and Medicine 13 (2008) 568-614 www.brill.nl/esm Harvey’s and Highmore’s Accounts of Chick Generation Karin J. Ekholm * Indiana University, Bloomington Abstract Harvey and Highmore experimented together on chick fetuses at Oxford in the early 1640s, yet in 1651 published significantly diferent treatises on generation that empha- size their reliance on observations and dissections of fetal chicks at diferent stages of incuba tion. The key diferences follow from their views on matter and souls. Harvey conceives of living bodies as governed by Aristotelian souls and faculties. Highmore views matter as made of corpuscles and describes organs as involved in chemical pro- cedures. Highmore’s treatise is a response to Digby’s claim that heat, moisture, and pressure could explain generation. Although Digby’s treatment lacks Harvey’s and Highmore’s attention to detail, it ofers a point of comparison that leads to a more nuanced understanding of their explanation. Moreover, Highmore’s dedication of his work to Boyle provides a new perspective on both men’s intellectual evolution from the latter part of the 1640s to 1651. Keywords generation, atomism, forms, epigenesis, mechanism, chemistry The generation of living beings posed some of the most intractable
Early Science and Medicine – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: CHEMISTRY; ATOMISM; MECHANISM; GENERATION; FORMS; EPIGENESIS
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