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Ernst Mach Invents a New Sphygmograph.

Authors
  • Métraux, Alexandre1
  • 1 Archives Henri Poincaré,Université de Lorraine (campus Nancy),FranceE-mail:[email protected] , (France)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Science in context
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2016
Volume
29
Issue
4
Pages
379–407
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1017/S026988971600020X
PMID: 28079493
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Argument The sphygmograph as designed and tested by Jules-Étienne Marey - an apparatus destined to write pulse tracings on paper - revolutionized medical diagnostics in the early 1860s. Since the accuracy with which this device registered and objectified the pulse was controversial from the outset, the young scholar Ernst Mach (soon to become a leading theoretician and philosopher) decided to thoroughly examine Marey's sphygmograph. The investigation led to the invention of an alternative, truly Machian, sphygmograph. Mach's sphygmograph had originated in the regime of theoretical and applied physics, whereas the instrument invented by Marey had been rooted in the regime of experimental physiology. This one type of instrument thus serves as the focal object of a comparative study of two antagonistic epistemological approaches to sphygmography.

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