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The emerging field of plant physiology - continued...

Link, as he remarked in the preface of the 1840 Jahresbericht (p. 1), wanted to stay away from such hostilities, as the proceedings of the anatomy and physiology of plants had been detained rather than promoted by such. But he did not hesitate to present the views and works of Schleiden in the light which he felt characterized his methods most. By citing long passages (p. 9) of the presented works Link wanted to hint at the overall assumptive character of Schleiden's theories. With the clarified view of the elder it was only necessary to let Schleiden speak for himself (p. 48).

In the opinion of Schleiden, Link was far away from understanding the at present very narrow circle of established facts let alone to compile those amongst an approriate and methodologically consistent point of view. In order to somehow broaden the so far constricted circle of established facts Schleiden in the first part of his Grundzüge put forward the inductive method as his and his contemporaries' botanical manifesto.

However, according to Schleiden, Link was only presenting hypotheses grounded on imperfect observations, although Schleiden himself clearly embraced observation as the most relevant method as all objects of botany were actual existences. Link explicitly argued that it was neither the new intellect that was to stimulate botany, as Schleiden had written in the preface of his Grundzüge, nor serious studies which would more and more supersede and replace the alleged Speciesgetändel (toying around with species). Rather these works were premature at best as the Erklärungsgründe (attempted explanations) of the Erfahrungswissenschaft (empirical science) of botany had been rather limited. - Schleiden, needless to say, on his own account was logically consistent following the natural sciences which he saw as an implementation of applied mathematical logic. That he disregarded, or even ingnored the many works of his predecessors, something he spelt out as innovative, was most likely one of the principal reasons for Link's negative approach.

ISSN 1866-4784: reference - xlink