Claude Bernard

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In existographies, Claude Bernard (142-77 BE) (1813-1878 ACM) (IQ:175|#350) (RGM:686|1,350+) (Murray 4000:12|B) (Oduenyi 100:80) (Simmons 100:13) (Singh 100:94) (CR:24) was a French physician, aka general physiology founder (Henderson, 1927), noted for []


In 1860s, Bernard, outlined views on the relation of chemistry, heat, and life; commonly known for his "homeostasis" theory, namely that "stability of the internal environment [the milieu intérieur] is the condition for the free and independent life", and for his discoveries concerning the role of the pancreas in digestion; characterized by Paul Bert and his colleagues as a “great priest of atheism” (Ѻ).



Bernard influenced: William Bayliss, Alfred Lotka, and Lawrence Henderson.


Quotes | On

The following are quote on Bernard:

“If asked to define ‘life’ I should be inclined to do as Poinsot, the mathematician did, as related by Claude Bernard (1879): ‘If anyone asked me to define ‘time’, I should reply: Do you know what it is that you speak of? If he said Yes, I should say, Very well, let us talk about it. If he said No, I should say, Very well, let us talk about something else’.”
William Bayliss (1915), Principles of General Physiology (pg. ix) [1]; cited by Alfred Lotka (1925) in his “Regarding Definitions” as the policy he adopted, as a middle ground compromise between terminology convenience and definition difficulties
“Science was seen by Claude Bernard with clear but prophetic vision, for he lived almost a half-century before his time. He perceived that physiology rests securely upon the physico-chemical sciences, because all that these sciences bring to light is true of organic as of inorganic phenomena. Also there is nothing but the difficulty of the task to hinder the reduction of physiological processes to physical and chemical phenomena.”
— Lawrence Henderson (1927), “The Process of Scientific Discovery”[2]

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Bernard:

“When we meet a fact which contradicts a prevailing theory, we must accept the fact and abandon the theory, even when the theory is supported by great names and generally accepted.”
— Claude Bernard (1865), An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (pg. 164)
“There is in reality only one general physics, only one chemistry, and only one mechanics, in which all the phenomenal manifestations of nature are included, both those of living bodies as well as those of inanimate ones. In a word, all the phenomena which make their appearance in a living being obey the same laws as those outside of it. So that one may say that all the manifestations of life are composed of phenomena borrowed from the outer cosmic world, so far as their nature is concerned, possessing, however, a special morphology, in the sense that they are manifested under characteristic forms and by the aid of special physiological instruments.”
— Claude Bernard (1878), “The Problem of General Physiology” in: The Experimental Science (pgs. 116-17); cited by William Bayliss (1915) in Principles of General Physiology (pg. ix); compare: Goethe’s one nature themed “Advertisement” (1809)
“The metaphysical ‘evolutive force’ by which we may characterize life is useless in science, because, existing apart from physical forces, it can exercise no influence upon them.”
— Claude Bernard (1878), Experimental Science [3]
“It is not by struggling against cosmic conditions that the organism develops and maintains its place; on the contrary, it is by an adaptation to, an agreement with, these conditions. So, the living being does not form an exception to the great natural harmony which makes things adapt themselves to one another; it breaks no concord; it is neither in contradiction to nor struggling against general cosmic forces; far from that, it forms a member of the universal concert of things, and the life of the animal, for example, is only a fragment of the total life of the universe.”
— Claude Bernard (1879), Lessons on the Phenomena of Life: Common to Animals and Plants (pg. 67); cited by William Bayliss (1915) in Principles of General Physiology (pg. ix)
“We must not read into [living organisms] either a chemical retort or a soul: we must read into them what there is.”
— Claude Bernard (c.1875), Publication [4]
“It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.”
— Claude Bernard (c.1875), Publication
“Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown.”
— Claude Bernard (c.1875), Publication

End matter


  1. Bayliss, William. (1915). Principles of General Physiology (pg. ix). Publisher.
  2. (a) Henderson, Lawrence. (1927). “The Process of Scientific Discovery”, in: An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (translator: H.C. Greene) (introduction, pgs. v-xii). Henry Schuman, 1949.
    (b) Barber, Bernard. (1970). L.J. Henderson on the Social System (§2:149-58; quote, pg. 151; founder, pg. 153). University of Chicago Press.
  3. (a) Bernard, Claude. (1878). La Science Experimentale (pg. 211). Publisher.
    (b) Henderson, Lawrence J. (1917). The Order of Nature (pg. 77). Harvard University Press.
  4. Ball, Philip. (2011). Unnatural: the Heretical Idea of Making People (pg. 123). Vintage Books.

External links

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