chapter  4
64 Pages

Experimental Considerations Peculiar to Living Beings

ByClaude Bernard, Stewart Wolf, Henry Copley Greene

Physiologists and physicians must never forget that a living being is an organism with its own individuality. With the help of experimental analysis physiological functions can be transferred as much as possible outside the organism. A living body differs essentially from an inorganic body from the point of view of the experimenter. An inorganic body has no sort of spontaneity; as its properties are in equilibrium with outside conditions, it soon settles into physico-chemical indifference, that is, into stable equilibrium with its surroundings. The prejudices clinging to respect for corpses long halted the progress of anatomy. In the same way, vivisection in all ages has met with prejudices and detractors. Vivisection is only anatomical dissection of the living; it is necessarily combined with all the other physico-chemical means of investigation which must be carried into the organism. The physiological conditions of life are therefore nothing but the special physico-chemical stimuli which set in action the tissues of the organism.