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> ARAGO, EULOGY ON AMPÈRE., 1872.
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AMPÈRE TAKES PART IN A CELEBRATED DISCUSSION BETWEEN GEORGE CUVIER, AND GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE ON 
THE UNITY OF STRUCTURE IN ORGANIZED BEINGS. 

This discussion rested on some very nice considerations. If it were desired, for instance, to trace 
the resemblance between the arrangements of the viscera of a cephalopodic mollusk and those of man, 
it would be necessary to fancy the latter bent backwards from the line of the navel, so that the 
pelvis and lower limbs should be joined to the nape of the neck; it would be necessary, moreover, to 
imagine man walking on his head. Other comparisons required that one of the two animals should be 
reversed like a glove; that the bony structure should pass from within to without, that the 
enveloped should become the envelope, etc., etc. The members of the mathematical department of the 
college could take no part in this subtle debate; they were satisfied to be attentive listeners. 
Ampère alone threw himself headlong into the arena. But it was found that the views so warmly 
opposed by Cuvier, and so decidedly sustained by our honorable colleague, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 
were those entertained by Ampère in 1803. 
Cuvier, the learned secretary of the academy, when concluding his course on the history of the 
sciences of the nineteenth century, was naturally led to allude to the German school known under the 
name of Philosophers of Nature. 
The principles of the philosophers of nature, at least those referring to the unity of structure in 
animals, appearing to him erroneous, he undertook to oppose them. Ampère was one of the auditors of 
our illustrious colleague. If, as at the Normal Convential School, the students had the right to 
challenge the professors, each lecture of Cuvier’s course would assuredly have ended in an 
animated and instructive debate; but the regulations imperiously forbade such in innovation. Ampère 
was not the man to be discouraged by difficulties. Custom denying him permission to speak in the 
arena where Cuvier was unfolding his views, openly without leaving the precincts of the college 
founded by Francis the First, if not on the same day, at least during the same week, when delivering 
his course on Mathésiologie, Ampère broadly announced himself, with reference to the 
chief point of philosophic zoology, the declared adversary of the first naturalist of Europe. In 
each of his lectures he gave a minute and detailed criticism of the preceding lecture of Cuvier. But 
in return, Cuvier regularly used an analysis of Ampère’s argument, made by his brother Frederic, 
who attended the course on Mathésiologie, as the text for each succeeding one of those 
lectures, whose glorious memory will long be preserved by the College of France, and in which shone 
in the same high degree, his talent for explaining, his knowledge of facts in detail, and must it be 
avowed, his art of rendering sarcasm cutting without overstepping the limits of a well-bred critic. 
Each week Ampère would seem felled by the blows of the new 
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