Reflections on Image and Logic: Philosophy and the History of Experimentation on Rous Sarcoma Virus in the Early to Mid 1900s
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When Rous published his experiments on transmissible chicken sarcomas at the beginning of the 201h century, laboratory research was just starting to grow more independent from the clinic. Later changes in the field and the growing emphasis on genetics meant that cancer came to be characterized not just as a physical phenomenon but also as a chemical and genetic condition within the body. I will begin my thesis by using Peter Galison's Image and Logic to introduce the topics of intercalated periodization, experimental image and logic traditions, and the utility of machines as loci of and participants in cross cultural exchange. I will then use the history of early experimentation on RSV as a model of scientific change. The interaction of virologists, cancer biologists, pathologists, bacteriophage researchers, experimental techniques, and technicians within experiments on RSV negotiated the importance of tumor virology to cancer research. Ultimately, I will show the emergence of distinct image and logic traditions within the early history of RSV, and I will discuss how images and logic represent fundamentally different modes of knowledge acquisition.