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The Helmholtz CurvesTracing Lost Time$
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Henning Schmidgen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823261949

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823261949.001.0001

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(p.172) Conclusion
The Helmholtz Curves

Henning Schmidgen

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the semiological and epistemological status of Helmholtz’s curve recordings. It argues that these curves did not provide precision measurements of time but instead illustrated the basic structure of Helmholtz’s time experiments. The parallel traces that Helmholtz obtained by means of his myograph highlight the fact that two successive trials were carried out that differed in only one respect, i.e. the position of the electrode on the nerve. In other words, the curves are not representations in the common sense but rather indexical signs of a research machine. In other words, similar as in Proust’s work, the unity of Helmholtz’s time experiments is provided by an apprenticeship aiming at deciphering signs and their changes over time.

Keywords:   Hermann von Helmholtz, Marcel Proust, Gilles Deleuze, Time experiments, Graphic method, Epistemology, Semiology

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