Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

pp 1280-1283

Ontogeny, Overview

  • Nicolás Robles LópezAffiliated withUniversidad de Buenos Aires Email author 


The concept of ontogeny is closely related to the concept of phylogeny. As microcosm and macrocosm, they were used by Greek philosophers, but they became scientific concepts in the beginning of modernity with the development of the capitalist society. Biology was the main field where the battle about the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny took place. Haeckel’s biogenetic law was one of the milestones of this battle. His theory of the recapitulation of phylogeny in ontogeny was a central issue also in psychology. An extreme example of the use of this theory was the Freudian psychoanalysis, which tried to solve the problem without including a serious analysis of the society in its postulation. Development and genesis in psychology were the main concepts in this discussion. The sociogenesis, the role of the society in the individuation of the human being, and the laws of the society were the solution found by some psychologists and theorists to this proble ...

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