Newton’s impact on natural philosophy has been well studied, but little attention has been paid to the role Newtonian “analogies” played in the formulation of conceptual schemes in physiology, medicine, and life science. This chapter focuses on figures such as Haller, Barthez, and Blumenbach, who constructed methodological analogies between celestial mechanics and physiology. In celestial mechanics, they held, an entity—gravity—is posited to mathematically link physical phenomena. One can remain agnostic about the ontological status of the entity if the linked phenomena are represented adequately. They held that the physiologist can similarly posit an unknown—‘life’—and use it to link phenomena from digestion to sensation and glandular function. No ontological claims are made about this principle, and no attempts are made to causally connect it to phenomena. This “Newtonian analogy” brings together diverse schools of thought, and cuts across a surprising variety of programs and natural philosophical practices.
Wolfe, Charles (Corresponding)
|Titolo:||On the Role of Newtonian Analogies in Eighteenth-Century Life Science: Vitalism and Provisionally Inexplicable Explicative Devices|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||3.1 Articolo su libro|