‎MÜLLER, (JOHANNES PETER). - [ESTABLISHING ARISTOTLE AS THE FOUNDER OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE]‎
‎Über den glatten Hai des Aristoteles, und über die Verschiedenheiten unter den Haifischen un Rochen in der Entwickelung des Eies. [In: Abhandlungen der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. Aus dem Jahr 1840].‎

‎Berlin, 1842. 4to. Entire volume of "Abhandlungen"... and "Mathamatische Abhandlungen"... 1840 present. Contemporary yellow boards with a vellum-like spine. Handwritten title to spine. A bit of wear and soiling to extremities, and corners bent. Internally fine and clean. Stamp to title-page (Dom-Gymnasium Magdeburg, also stamped out). Pp. (187)- 257 + 6 plates, two of which are folded. Text very nice, bright, and clean, plates with a bit of brownspotting. [Entire volume: (6), XVII, (5), 400 pp. + 10 plates, 4 of which are coloured + (4), 137 pp.]. First printing of this foundational work, which established the acceptance, by the modern world, of Aristotle as the founder of biological science. It is due to the present work that modern encyclopaedias will now conclude that "Aristotle is properly recognized as the originator of the scientific study of life." (SEP). Apart from its importance to the modern view of Aristotle, the present paper was also central to Müller's construction of a natural system of the fishes. <br><br>For centuries, the authority of Aristotle in matters of science and biology was unrivalled, but with modern science, the advancement of exact knowledge, and modern man's ability to investigate the smallest of details, Aristotle's scientific and zoological works increasingly came to be viewed as not properly belonging to the exact sciences. Many biologists would claim that his observations were fanciful and incorrect, not constituting any real scientific value. This view completely changed with the publication of the present paper, by the renowned zoologist Müller.<br><br>In his "Historia Animalium", Aristotle had described a phenomenon in a shark, which no modern zoologist believed to be true. Had it been true, our classification among sharks and fish would need to be different, as this fanciful observation would completely alter our view of the shark as such. Müller, in the present treatise, was the first to actually prove Aristotle's observation to be true, thereby altering the modern conception of Aristotle, earning him the respect that he truly deserved as the first scientific biologist and as the originator of the scientific study of life. <br><br>"Müller placed the Cyclostomata among the fishes. He was thus led to study the sharks... A further product of this investigation was "Über den glatten Hai des Aristoteles" (1842). In "Historia animalium", Aristotle had reported that the embryos of the "so-called smooth shark" are attached to the uterus of the mother by a placenta, as is the case among mammals. Rondelet had described such a shark in 1555 and Steno had observed one in 1673 off the coast of Tuscany, but it had not been referred to in more recent times. Müller was the first who was able to corroborate the earlier testimony.<br>In conjunction with the study of the shark, Müller constructed a natural system of the fishes based on work as painstaking as it was perceptive." (DSB).<br><br>Johannes Peter Müller (1801-58) was one of the most important physiologists and zoologists of the 19th century. He made a vast number of important discoveries, and his unusual and empirical approach to his subjects made him one of the most influential scientists of the century. "Müller introduced a new era of biological research in Germany and pioneered the use of experimental methods in medicine. He overcame the inclination to natural-philosophical speculation widespread in German universities during his youth, and inculcated respect for careful observation and physiological experimentation. He required of empirical research that it be carried out "with seriousness of purpose and thoughtfulness, with incorruptible love of truth and perseverance." Anatomy and physiology, pathological anatomy and histology, embryology and zoology-in all these fields he made numerous fundamental discoveries. Almost all German scientists who achieved fame after the middle of the nineteenth century considered themselves his students or adopted his methods or views. Their remarks reveal his preeminent position in medical and biological research. Helmholtz, one of his most brilliant students, termed Müller a "man of the first rank" and stated that his acquaintance with him had "definitively altered his intellectual standards"." (DSB).‎

Reference : 50662


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