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Four essential terms to understand evolution theory better

20220118-113659eugene-zhyvchik-xJY-7gtC38o-unsplash Credit: Unsplash by Eugene Zhyvchik

Credit: Unsplash by Eugene Zhyvchik  

Phylogenesis, ontogenesis, ethnogenesis, and sociogenesis

1. phylogeny (phylogenesis), the history of the evolution of a species or group, especially in reference to lines of descent and relationships among broad groups of organisms. Fundamental to phylogeny is the proposition, universally accepted in the scientific community, that plants or animals of different species descended from common ancestors.

Source: Britannica.com

2. ontogeny (ontogenesis), all the developmental events that occur during the existence of a living organism. Ontogeny begins with the changes in the egg at the time of fertilization and includes developmental events to the time of birth or hatching and afterward—growth, remolding of body shape, and development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Source: Britannica.com

3. Ethnogenesis (from Greek ethnos ἔθνος, "group of people, nation" and genesis γένεσις, "beginning, coming into being"; plural ethnogeneses) is "the formation and development of an ethnic group". This can originate through a process of group self-identification as well as come about as the result of outside identification.

The term ethnogenesis, a mid-20th century neologism, refers to the observable phenomenon of the emergence of new social groups that are identified as having a cohesive identity, i.e. an "ethnic group" in anthropological terms. Relevant social sciences not only observe this phenomenon but search for explanation of its causes. The term ethnogeny is also used as a variant of ethnogenesis.

Source: Wikipedia

4. Sociogeny (French: sociogénie, from the Latin socius, i.e., "association" or "social," and the Greek γένεσις, denoting "origin, source, beginning, nativity, generation, production, or creation") or sociogenesis is the development of a social phenomenon. That a phenomenon is sociogenetic thus indicates that it is socially produced, as opposed to ontologically given, immutable, or static. The concept was developed by Frantz Fanon in his 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks.

Source: Wikipedia


Different aspects of evolution

What do you imagine when you hear the word evolution? Formost people it immediately conjure up the picture of the biological tree of the development of species or maybe nowadays, the advancement of technology. Well, that's natural. It is the quintessence of the theory of scientists like Charles Darwin and Ernst Haeckel. But there is much more about it. In fact, the theory of evolution was so revolutionary and crucial for the Western (and not only) thought that is comparable with the introduction of the mathematical method of Galileo or the Copernican Revolution. In the 19th century, it literally burst the mind of intellectuals in an explosion. Of course, if we go a bit further into the past, we could see the roots of Theory of Evolution in the works of Georg Wilhelm Hegel or Deni Diderot but it hadn't gone beyond the realms of metaphysics.

Theory of Evolution made it possible to think of new and provocative ideas like, what is now, the banalest one – that humans come from apes (which was a groundbreaking revelation for the time). On the other hand, Haeckel speculated in his Recapitulation Theory that the personal development of an individual (ontogenesis) recapitulates the evolution of the species (phylogenesis) – another fascinating idea. Later on, evolution entered into the theory of language with the works of Ferdinand de Saussure - the evolution of languages; the ideas of Sigmund Freud for the development of an individual as a psychological being, and many more. Building upon the ideas of the latter, Frantz Fanon conceived the concept of Sociogeny, i.e., the way that social constructs affect the individuals that live in a given society and vice versa. The ideas kindled by the theory of Evolution are innumerable.

If we elaborate upon just the above mentioned, we could speculate that each individual in his/her cognitive development resembles the progress of cultures: infancy – ancient Greece and Rome, adolescence – Medieval Times, adulthood – Enlightenment, old age – contemporary world. Or why not that, the progress of artificial intelligence will somehow recapitulate these or some others periods from human history. We could apply the notion of Evolution to every idea that comes across our minds. You can try it by yourself. It is one of the most significant mental tools that we achieved as a kind.

Make a good use out of it!


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