Dexterity and Its Development

By Mark L. Latash; Michael T. Turvey et al. | Go to book overview
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Essay 1
What Is Dexterity?

RECONNAISSANCE AND BATTLES OF SCIENCE

Physiology long ago passed beyond being merely "the frog science." The subject grew both in size and in level of development. It addressed doves and chickens, then moved to cats and dogs. Later, a respectful place in the laboratories was taken by monkeys and apes. The persisting requirements of practice moved physiology closer and closer to human beings.

There was a time when the human was considered a unique being, a semigod. Any research into the human bodily structure and function was considered sacrilegious. Spontaneous scientific materialism took its position in science only about 300 years ago; at that time, the first frog was dissected. However, in current times, the depth of the abyss between humans and all other living beings has become apparent. Here, the subject was not human supernatural origin or immortal soul. The abyss was revealed by the inevitable, persisting requirements of everyday practice. Physiology of labor and physiology of physical exercise and sport emerged. What kind of labor can be studied in cats? What is common between the frog and the track-and-field athlete?

Thus, genuine human physiology and genuine human activity has developed and expanded. Scientists attacked one bastion after another, delving deeper and deeper into the mysteries of functions of the human body.

Development of each natural science, including physiology, might well be compared to a persistent victorious offense. The adversary--the unknown--is strong and is far from being defeated. Each inch of land has been captured only

-9-

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