Folding into being: early embryology and the epistemology of rhythm

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Folding into being : early embryology and the epistemology of rhythm. / Wellmann, Janina.

In: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Vol. 37, No. 1, 01.03.2015, p. 17-33.

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@article{dbb339c3fc0e4e3782baa45d53a6bc30,
title = "Folding into being: early embryology and the epistemology of rhythm",
abstract = "Historians have often described embryology and concepts of development in the period around 1800 in terms of “temporalization” or “dynamization”. This paper, in contrast, argues that a central epistemological category in the period was “rhythm”, which played a major role in the establishment of the emerging discipline of biology. I show that Caspar Friedrich Wolff{\textquoteright}s epigenetic theory of development was based on a rhythmical notion, namely the hypothesis that organic development occurs as a series of ordered rhythmical repetitions and variations. Presenting Christian Heinrich Pander{\textquoteright}s and Karl Ernst von Baer{\textquoteright}s theory of germ layers, I argue that Pander and Baer regarded folding as an organizing principle of ontogenesis, and that the principle{\textquoteright}s explanatory power stems from their understanding of folding as a rhythmical figuration. In a brief discussion of the notion of rhythm in contemporary music theory, I identify an underlying physiological epistemology in the new musical concept of rhythm around 1800. The paper closes with a more general discussion of the relationship between the rhythmic episteme, conceptions of life, and aesthetic theory at the end of the eighteenth century.",
keywords = "Philosophy, History, Development, Embryology, Folding, Rhythm, Rhythmic episteme",
author = "Janina Wellmann",
note = "Online ISSN 1742-6316",
year = "2015",
month = mar,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s40656-014-0052-8",
language = "English",
volume = "37",
pages = "17--33",
journal = "History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences",
issn = "0391-9714",
publisher = "Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Folding into being

T2 - early embryology and the epistemology of rhythm

AU - Wellmann, Janina

N1 - Online ISSN 1742-6316

PY - 2015/3/1

Y1 - 2015/3/1

N2 - Historians have often described embryology and concepts of development in the period around 1800 in terms of “temporalization” or “dynamization”. This paper, in contrast, argues that a central epistemological category in the period was “rhythm”, which played a major role in the establishment of the emerging discipline of biology. I show that Caspar Friedrich Wolff’s epigenetic theory of development was based on a rhythmical notion, namely the hypothesis that organic development occurs as a series of ordered rhythmical repetitions and variations. Presenting Christian Heinrich Pander’s and Karl Ernst von Baer’s theory of germ layers, I argue that Pander and Baer regarded folding as an organizing principle of ontogenesis, and that the principle’s explanatory power stems from their understanding of folding as a rhythmical figuration. In a brief discussion of the notion of rhythm in contemporary music theory, I identify an underlying physiological epistemology in the new musical concept of rhythm around 1800. The paper closes with a more general discussion of the relationship between the rhythmic episteme, conceptions of life, and aesthetic theory at the end of the eighteenth century.

AB - Historians have often described embryology and concepts of development in the period around 1800 in terms of “temporalization” or “dynamization”. This paper, in contrast, argues that a central epistemological category in the period was “rhythm”, which played a major role in the establishment of the emerging discipline of biology. I show that Caspar Friedrich Wolff’s epigenetic theory of development was based on a rhythmical notion, namely the hypothesis that organic development occurs as a series of ordered rhythmical repetitions and variations. Presenting Christian Heinrich Pander’s and Karl Ernst von Baer’s theory of germ layers, I argue that Pander and Baer regarded folding as an organizing principle of ontogenesis, and that the principle’s explanatory power stems from their understanding of folding as a rhythmical figuration. In a brief discussion of the notion of rhythm in contemporary music theory, I identify an underlying physiological epistemology in the new musical concept of rhythm around 1800. The paper closes with a more general discussion of the relationship between the rhythmic episteme, conceptions of life, and aesthetic theory at the end of the eighteenth century.

KW - Philosophy

KW - History

KW - Development

KW - Embryology

KW - Folding

KW - Rhythm

KW - Rhythmic episteme

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84928400330&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s40656-014-0052-8

DO - 10.1007/s40656-014-0052-8

M3 - Journal articles

C2 - 26013433

VL - 37

SP - 17

EP - 33

JO - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

JF - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

SN - 0391-9714

IS - 1

ER -