AA ARTICLE Grundzüge einer phänomenologischen Embryologie – 2005 DE


Grundzüge einer phänomenologischen Embryologie. Von Jaap van der Wal und Guus van der Bie. Eine Bearbeitung diese Textes ist erschienen in Inge Krens/Hans Krens (Hg.), Grundlagen einer vorgeburtlichen Psychologie, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 2005


Embryonic behavior – behavior in forms

When prenatal psychology speaks about prenatal existence or prenatal experience
is spoken of, it usually refers to fetal existence. However, biologically, prenatal life also includes the phase of embryonic life, which consists of organogenesis and somato-genesis. The fetus differs from the embryo in that its body plan with all organ systems is in principle already fully formed, whereas in the embryo it is still developing. Around the tenth week of pregnancy, an embryo becomes a fetus. In prenatal psychology, it is assumed that transformations or variations of the earliest prenatal experiences can be re-experienced in later stages of life, even those that took place before our nervous system developed. A conventional embryologist might object that one cannot yet speak of mental functioning in the embryo because it has only a simple or primitive nervous system that is still developing. The controversial question here is whether an embryo is able to ‘experience’ and to act in a motivated way, if it is assumed that soul life and behavior are only possible with a functioning nervous system.

A way out of this dilemma is possibly provided by the definition of ‘behavior’. One can also define the behavior of living organisms on the basis of their form and shape, the continuously changing morphological appearance (Van der Bie 2001). An organism always represents a unity of form, function, and environment that is constantly changing over time (Rose 1998). The flower in the vase is not the flower. In the image one has of it, one must include the time factor: from seed to plant, to bud, to flower, to wither, and so on. The organism shows behavior in a morphological sense long before it acts outwardly, becomes an actor, so to speak; it shows behavior through its forms, its body organization, and its shape.

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