Dynamic models of development and the mechanistic-organismic controversy

Peter Molenaar, Louis Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Starting with a prototypical model of Newtonian mechanics, a sequence of dynamic models with increasing structural complexity is presented. The implicated smooth variation along a dimension of structural complexity yields dynamic models which display organismic properties such as stagewise development and emergent self-organization. Consequently, it is concluded that dynamic models of development are inherently neutral with respect to the mechanism-organicism controversy. Accordingly, a unitary research program is proposed in which these dynamic models serve as building blocks for the construction of a coherent explanatory system of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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