Paris or Berlin? Claude Bernard’s rivalry with Emil du Bois-Reymond

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 45 (2):1-21 (2023)
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Claude Bernard (1813–1878) and Emil du Bois-Reymond (1818–1896) rank as two of the most influential scientists of the nineteenth century. Renowned for their experiments, lectures, and writing, Bernard and du Bois-Reymond earned great prestige as professors of physiology in a time when Paris and Berlin reigned as capitals of science. Yet even though they were equals in every way, du Bois-Reymond’s reputation has fallen far more than Bernard’s. This essay compares aspects of the two men’s attitudes to philosophy, history, and biology in an attempt to explain why Bernard remains the better known. The answer lies less in the value of du Bois-Reymond’s contributions than in the way that science is remembered in France and Germany.



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Gabriel Finkelstein
University of Colorado Denver

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Evolution: The History of an Idea.Peter J. Bowler - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (2):261-265.

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