Arguments for Experimentation in Biology

By 1900 most biologists accepted experimentation as appropriate for at least parts of biology. Some claimed experimentation as the best or only proper approach to biology, while others regarded it as an acceptable addition to existing methodologies. Different researchers defined experimentation in different ways, and they held different aspirations for their experimental programs. This paper explores three sets of ideas, represented respectively by the French in the 1870s, the Germans in the 1880s, and the Americans in the 1890s. It examines what an experiment was thought to be, what experimentation was, and what the goals of experimentation were for each group, revealing suggestive differences.
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James W. E. Lowe (2016). Normal Development and Experimental Embryology: Edmund Beecher Wilson and Amphioxus. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:44-59.

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