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<title> SUMMARY </title>In the 1850s the German rejection of the Schwannian cell-blastema theory relating to cytogenesis implies a re-examination of the common features of new-formations (tumors, cancroids, tubercles) made up of an intermixture of imperfectly formed cells, nuclei and exudates. But the belief that amorphous blastema played no role in the genesis of cells involves the critical analysis objected by R. Virchow to humoral pathology and the discussion of the conceptual error of «ontologizing», i.e. conceiving diseases as distinct entities. Virchow's anticontagionist attack is a feature of this antiontological opposition. In this attitude we can see the transition from the classificatory, natural-historical and genetic principles. The conclusive discussion of the recent interpretations of Virchow's cellular pathology shows the historiographic attitude to change from mechanism to neovitalism in biological theory. This interpretation must not ignore that in the study of tumors Virchow was always in search of a biochemical theory.

Affiliations: 1: Università di Torino


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