Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Charles T. Wolfe

Generation Theory

  • Benjamin GoldbergEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_167-1


Related Topics

Anatomy; Causation; Epigenesis; God; Physiology; Preformation


Generation theory in early modern Europe was an oft-eclectic attempt to explain reproduction. Generation had long been a problem, from Antiquity through the Mediaeval and Renaissance periods. This introduction will discuss some important background doctrines that informed early modern debates. Due to constraints of coherence and length, a number of important aspects of the history of generation theory will not be discussed, including non-elite theories, the practical aspects midwifery, as well as non-Mediterranean/non-European theories (for an introduction to some of these issues, see Needham 1959).

The Hippocratic corpus was filled with discussions of generation in works like On the Nature of Woman and On the Nature of the Child. These were concerned less with the technicalities of development, than with advice to guarantee a successful period of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Cultural StudiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Justin E.H. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Département Histoire et Philosophie des SciencesUniversité Paris DiderotParisFrance