The work of prominent Russian biologist Alexander Gavrilovich Gurwitsch (1874–1954) on the theory of organism development are reviewed. Alexander Gurwitsch introduced the concept of embryonic (morphogenetic, biological, and cellular) field and proposed several revisions of it from 1912 to 1944. Although neither of them can be considered as a final theory of development, his the persistent search for the invariant law that allows the shape (spatial structure) to be proposed for each next developmental stage from the previous shape is of imperishable methodological interest. Alexander Gurwitsch anticipated many ideas of the future theory of self-organization. His theoretical constructions are explicit and experiment-oriented but absolutely not esoteric. They represent a highly important and original contribution to theoretical biology and are an essential step to further development of the ontogenetic theory.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2008
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