chapter  6
18 Pages

Examples of Experimental Physiological Criticism

ByClaude Bernard, Stewart Wolf, Henry Copley Greene

Experimental criticism rests on absolute principles which must guide experimenters in noting and interpreting the phenomena of nature. It will be particularly useful in the biological sciences where prevailing theories are so often propped up with false ideas or based on poorly observed facts. This chapter explores how many sources of error may surround physiologists in the investigation of vital phenomena. In a word, experimental criticism casts doubt on everything except the principle of scientific, rational determinism in the realm of facts. Thus only is criticism equivalent to a discovery; when it explains everything without denying anything and finds the correct causation of apparently contradictory facts. A crude fact is not scientific, and a fact whose causation is irrational should also be ejected from science. The irrationality of the fact, therefore, led to see a priori that it must be false, and that it could not be used as a basis for scientific reasoning.