Abstract
Reflecting on his scientific career toward the end of his life, the French-educated medical researcher René Dubos presented his flowering as an ecological thinker as a story of linear progression—the inevitable product of the intellectual seeds planted in his youth. But how much store should we set by Dubos’s account of his ecological journey? Resisting retrospective biographical readings, this paper seeks to relate the development of Dubos’s ecological ideas to his experimental practices and his career as a laboratory researcher. In particular, I focus on Dubos’s studies of tuberculosis at the Rockefeller Institute in the period 1944–1956—studies which began with an inquiry into the tubercle bacillus and the physiochemical determinants of virulence, but which soon encompassed a wider investigation of the influence of environmental forces and host–parasite interactions on susceptibility and resistance to infection in animal models. At the same time, through a close reading of Dubos’s scientific papers and correspondence, I show how he both drew on and distinguished his ecological ideas from those of other medical researchers such as Theobald Smith, Frank Macfarlane Burnet, and Frank Fenner. However, whereas Burnet and Fenner tended to view ecological interactions at the level of populations, Dubos focused on the interface of hosts and parasites in the physiological environments of individuals. The result was that although Dubos never fully engaged with the science of ecology, he was able to incorporate ecological ideas into his thought and practices, and relate them to his holistic views on health and the natural harmony of man and his environment.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s40656-017-0147-0
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,021
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

René Dubos, Tuberculosis, and the “Ecological Facets of Virulence”.Mark Honigsbaum - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):15.
Infection Into Disease.René J. Dubos - 1958 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 1 (4):425-435.
Hippocrates in Modern Dress.René Dubos - 1966 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 9 (2):275-288.
Mirage of Health by René Dubos.John F. Enders - 1960 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 3 (3):435-436.
Bacterial and Mycotic Infections of Man by René J. Dubos.James W. Moulder - 1959 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 2 (4):524-524.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-10-14

Total views
10 ( #857,351 of 2,433,467 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #468,801 of 2,433,467 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes