(or, an Apology to the Reader)
Occasionally people make the mistake of asking me where a word comes from. They never make that mistake twice.
– Mark Forsyth, The Etymologicon (2011)
I must begin with an apology to the reader, for my obsession (I prefer the word love) for words. This book is the story of a particular word, physiology. Looking at the jargon of modern-day science, one encounters widespread usage of such terms as “physiology,” “physics,” “physician,” inter alia. These expressions dot much of the verbal landscape of today’s science and medicine. It is rather obvious that they originated from a shared source. This monograph grew out of a simple question, which has been on my mind for a long while: How, why, when, and where did these words branch from an older, common root – to produce the etymological tree that we see today? Physiology manifests a split personality in the course of history, including both the study of “nature” and the study of “life.” How the language of life and the language of nature branched-out and splintered into the linguistic forms that we see today, I felt, was a story worth telling. This book emerged as a flowing study of life and nature, as revealed through the evolution a word – physiology.
I should state at the outset, that I am not, by profession, a historian of science, nor am I a philosopher of science. My background is in basic science. The...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.