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The Gestation of German BiologyPhilosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling$
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John H. Zammito

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226520797

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226520827.001.0001

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Making Life Science Newtonian: Albrecht von Haller’s Self-Fashioning as Natural Scientist

Making Life Science Newtonian: Albrecht von Haller’s Self-Fashioning as Natural Scientist

(p.37) Chapter Two Making Life Science Newtonian: Albrecht von Haller’s Self-Fashioning as Natural Scientist
The Gestation of German Biology

John H. Zammito

University of Chicago Press

Albrecht von Haller became the most important German life-scientist of the eighteenth century. Tracing his intellectual self-fashioning therefore provides crucial insight into the gestation of biology in Germany. Haller revolutionized physiology from a theoretical to an experimental research field, and in so doing he inaugurated a departure of research physiology from the primarily clinical-practical direction within German medical faculties. These innovations proved decisive for emergent biology. In the course of his early intellectual development, Haller fashioned himself as an “experimental Newtonian.” He had been schooled at the University of Leiden medical school under Herman Boerhaave at the moment when Dutch experimental Newtonianism became the most powerful force in European natural inquiry. Tracing his gradual grasp of the significance of this new impulse, culminating in the establishment of his own identity as an experimental Newtonian in Basel around 1729, sets the context for his subsequent, massive impact on the field.

Keywords:   Albrecht von Haller, experimental Newtonianism, Herman Boerhaave, Willem’s Gravesande, Bernhard Siegfried Albinus, anatomy, Jacques-Bénigne Winslow, Johann Bernoulli, Pierre Moreau de Maupertuis, Henry Pemberton

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