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title SUMMARY /title

In Italy, the physiological theories of Albrecht von Haller, based on the thesis of the independence of the property of irritability, characteristic of muscles, from sensitivity, characteristic of nerves, and on a refutation of the traditional iatro-mechanical explanation of muscular motion, found numerous supporters and just as many opponents. This gave rise to a heated polemic, which involved numerous physicians, physicists and philosophers. The principal site for this polemic, most acute between 1756 and 1760, was Bologna, a city where the influence of Malpighian iatromechanics was still very strongly felt, but also where Haller's two most ardent supporters, Marc'Antonio Caldani and Felice Fontana, were active. The present study proposes to analyse the reactions of scientific circles in Bologna to this debate, especially for the case of the local Academy of Sciences, and to place them in the context of the continuing dialectic between innovation and tradition that characterised the city.

Affiliations: 1: Universit di Bologna


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