Journal of the History of Biology 4 (2):221-244 (1971)

It is beyond the scope of this paper to describe in detail the rise to popularity of the emboîtement theories during the last decades of the seventeenth century.51 Eventually the theories did gain great influence, but some points emerging from the above discussion indicate that the rise to popularity was not, perhaps, quite as rapid as has sometimes been assumed.52 Although the earlier preformation theories were sometimes regarded as the ancestors of the later ideas,53 there was little intellectual continuity between the two movements, based as they were upon such divergent motivations. Nor can the preformation theories be regarded as the origin of the belief that a miniature can actually be seen within the egg, since the existence of metamorphosis as a perfectly valid alternative to epigenesis meant that the work of Malpighi and others, usually described as “preformationist,” was not always taken in this latter sense at the time it was published. The pre-existence theories developed in response to particular philosophical problems, and were themselves responsible for the reinterpretation of the observations. In France, the thoughts of Malebranche and Perrault were probably already exerting influence before their written support for pre-existence appeared, but elsewhere the idea was not taken up so rapidly, and ovism, for instance, could develop without associating itself with emboîtement. Malpighi always seems to have remained opposed to pre-existence,54 but by the last decade of the century, the idea had become sufficiently powerful to influence Ray and Garden in Britain, and was receiving support from as influential a thinker as Leibniz.55 But Garden and Hartsoeker were responsible for dividing emboîtement between two schools, just as the concept itself was becoming popular. The work of both Malpighi and Leeuwenhoek served as the basis of the animalculist version, illustrating how the microscopic discoveries served as much to disrupt the intellectual development of the emboîtement concept as they did to promote it. *** DIRECT SUPPORT *** A8402051 00002
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00138311
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,232
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Evolution Concept: The Concept Evolution.Agustin Ostachuk - 2018 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 14 (3):354-378.
The Organism as Reality or as Fiction: Buffon and Beyond.Boris Demarest & Charles T. Wolfe - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (1):3.
Introduction: sketches of a conceptual history of epigenesis.Antonine Nicoglou & Charles T. Wolfe - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (4):64.
Antoine Le Grand on the Identity Over Time of the Human Body.Han Thomas Adriaenssen - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (6):1084-1109.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Soul and Mind: Life and Thought in the Seventeenth Century.Daniel Garber - 1998 - In Daniel Garber & Michael Ayers (eds.), The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1--559.
Proofs of the Existence of God.Jean-Robert Armogathe - 1998 - In Daniel Garber & Michael Ayers (eds.), The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1--312.
Existence: Two Dogmas of Analysis.William F. Vallicella - 2014 - In Daniel D. Novotny Lukas Novak (ed.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives in Metaphysics. Routledge. pp. 45-75.
The Cognitive Faculties.Gary Hatfield - 1998 - In Daniel Garber & Michael Ayers (eds.), The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 953–1002.


Added to PP index

Total views
28 ( #348,267 of 2,329,899 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #583,587 of 2,329,899 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes