W. Harvey’s conception of epigenesis. An organicist reading



Published 24-06-2021
Miguel Escribano Cabeza


This paper takes an organicist perspective of W. Harvey’s conception of epigenesis in his work Exercitationes de generatione animalium (1651). In line with this reading, I provide a critical assessment of the different interpretations (mechanistic or vitalist) of Harvey’s idea of epigenesis. The English physician develops his conception of embryogenesis as a process that cannot be understood from the categories of human art, as is apparent in his criticisms towards his teacher, Fabricius. Nor is it accurate to say that his position is animistic. An immersion in this last question will show us his organic conception of the soul, as an extension of the Aristotelian-Galenic tradition.

How to Cite

Escribano Cabeza, M. (2021). W. Harvey’s conception of epigenesis. An organicist reading. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 36(3), 421–437. https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.21938
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William Harvey; animal generation; epigenesis; Galen; organic soul