At the end of the nineteenth century, approaches from experimental physiology made inroads into embryological research. A new generation of embryologists felt urged to study the mechanisms of organ formation. This new program, most prominently defended by Wilhelm Roux (1850–1924), was called Entwicklungsmechanik. Named variously as “causal embryology”, “physiological embryology” or “developmental mechanics”, it catalyzed the movement of embryology from a descriptive science to one exploring causal mechanisms. This article examines the specific scientific and epistemological meaning of the mechanistic approaches of embryological development by focusing on Wilhelm His’ (1831–1904) histogenetic work. Roux was neither the first, nor the only one to argue for an experimental exploration of causes in embryology. At the time of Roux, physiological explanations of the genesis of the anatomical forms were developing in parallel, not only in German-speaking countries, but in France, Switzerland and English-speaking countries as well. The experimental approach and the cellular descriptions of embryogenesis were already omni-present when Roux proposed his Entwicklungsmechanik. However, these approaches remained disjointed. It appears that it was Wilhelm His who first succeeded in combining the question of the causal factors determining epigenesis, which was closely connected with experimentation on, and cellular descriptions of, development, in a coherent and concrete synthesis, making him one of the true initiators of the developmental mechanics.
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 14, 2017
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud