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1. The Flexner report was not without its critics (e.g., Berliner 1976; H. Miller 1966).

2. The Johns Hopkins model and the Flexner Report had a profound effect on medical education in the United States. The chair of my former department at the University of Pennsylvania was Louis Flexner. He, like his famous kin Abraham and Simon, understood that the laboratory and hands-on teaching were vital parts of medical school education. He lived to his nineties, maintaining an active laboratory.


1. Henderson’s support of the experimental method no doubt influenced Richter, though I could find no mention of this influence other than a few passing remarks about Henderson in Richter’s (1985) autobiography.

2. With regard to Dewey, Watson would recall how he “never knew what he was talking about” (Watson 1930/1961, p. 274). Watson would comment that he could barely understand the pragmatism that dominated the University of Chicago where he had been trained. He wanted something more rigorous than the pragmatism of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. In Watson’s mind, there was no room for what would later be characterized as a form of “cognitive behaviorism” (e.g., Tolman 1949). He preferred a radical behaviorism, a purge of talk about the mind. Dewey, for example, understood the new psychology, or psychobiology, as representing something open-ended, with cognitive adaptation as a primary feature. He saw behavioral adaptation, or self-corrective inquiry, as an essential part of our biology, our constitution (Dewey 1910/1965, 1925/1989). This is the form of classical pragmatism tied to American progressivism. The other side of pragmatism was tied to a narrower engineering perspective (cf. Schneider 1946/1963; J. E. Smith 1978; Pauly 1987; Weidman 1999; Dalton 2002).


1. Bernard, like some other investigators, was formulating a philosophy in which science was conceived as part of the salvation of civilization. It was a purely materialistic conception: no vitalism, no ghosts, just biological machinery that could be understood through experimental physiology and medicine (Holmes 1974, 2004).

2. Like his contemporary Pavlov and his predecessor Bernard, Starling was interested in pancreatic secretion, namely, the conditions under which chemicals are secreted for the digestion, absorption, and use of food sources (Bayliss and Starling 1902; see also Pavlov 1897/1902; G. P. Smith 2000; Todes 2002).

3. Anne Harrington, in a very interesting book on perceptual holism and its multiple meanings, depicts how the concept of instinct functioned in German science and cultural understanding (Harrington 1996). Richter stepped into a scientific world dominated by the concept of instinct and whether to retain or discard it. The central question about instinct was: What of behavior is innate and what is learned? But there were other discussions as well, such as to what extent the organization of behavior was a reflection of reflexes.


1. See Logan’s very thoughtful article on the use of and rationale for the rat as an experimental animal, and some of the confusion that surrounds the origins and justification of its use in this country (Logan 1999).

2. The experiments had a hygienic component—clearing the streets of Baltimore of vermin and disease—that was no doubt close to the heart of Adolf Meyer. After all, Meyer emphasized the hygienic aspects of diseases and health. Working with the mayor and the city council in a city where Richter had studied and worked for more than forty years was a broad application of his method of inquiry. Moreover, it had practical applications related to biological warfare and the country’s defensive and offensive measures during a time of war and uncertainty.

3. Richter had a rugged sense about him; animals were to be trapped, examined, and used. After all, he noted that in his youth “coyote hunting constituted a rare but exciting pleasure” (Richter 1985, p. 360). He held no romanticism about animals; he might appreciate their utility, but he had no appreciation of their inherent beauty. Richter hailed from the wild (or near-wild) West. In Colorado at the turn of the twentieth century, one captured, ate, and (in his own case) studied animals, and perhaps one had a few pets.

4. See Kohler 2002 for a discussion of the tension between what one produces in the laboratory and what one observes in nature, and between the laboratory scientist and the more ethological or ecological scientist.


1. See Holmes for a discussion of tracing laboratory notes and empirical or experimental results for Claude Bernard (Holmes 1974) and Hans Krebs (Holmes 1993).

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