From the uniformity of the nature to the theory of live contagion in Antonio Vallisneri

Vallisneri’s university education took place in Bologna as a direct pupil of Malpighi. In this context he appropriated the Galilean experimentalist tradition, the mechanistic biological model and the consequent conviction of the uniformity and unity of the laws of nature. Following this model, in 1714, together with his pupil Carlo Francesco Cogrossi, he resumed the thesis of live contagion to explain the etiology and characteristics of epidemic diseases.

The coldness with which this theory was received by the experimentalist environment, however, led him to avoid direct controversy. He returned to a conjectural interpretative model in the Istoria della generazione of 1721, when, leaning on Giacinto Tonti’s creationism and Conti’s Lettera sugli  inviluppi, he adhered to the embryogenetic thesis of ovistic preformism in the variant of pre-existence and envelopements.

[online 27/05/20]