Developmental Causation: A Set of Strict Instructions or a Self-organized Morphogenetic Field?

Lev V. Beloussov



Two alternative versions of interpreting the developmental events are discussed. The first of them regards the development as a set of highly specific steps each of them being caused by a unique special force, or an “instruction”. By this version, nothing outside the rigidly determined chain of events is presented, and the ultimate aim of a researcher is in making a list of specific instructions. The second version is centered around the notion of an extended spatio-temporal continuum (morphogenetic field). Any developmental trajectory is now considered to be the function of this continuum’s geometry in Euclidean and/or phase space. Within the context of such an alternative we review the classical embryological data related to inductive phenomena and embryonic regulations. The contours of a morphogenetic field theory are sketched.


developmental events; psychology; epistemology; biology; developmental trajectories

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