Towards a morphogenetic perspective on cancer

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The purpose of this paper is to present a critique of the current view that reduces cancer to a cellular problem caused by specific gene mutations and to propose, instead, that such a problem might become more intelligible, if it is understood as a phenomenon that results from the breakdown of the morphological plan or Gestalt of the organism. Such and organism, in Aristotelian terms, is characterized for presenting a specific morphe or logos (form) and for having a telos (end) to fulfill. A malignant tumor represents an entity separated from both the organic logos and the organic telos. According to the basic postulates of Semiophysics – a blend of Aristotelian physics and Catastrophe Theory developed by René Thom – an organism is a source (original) form individuated by a dominant pregnance that corresponds to its morphogenetic field. Here it is suggested that cancer in aged individuals might result from the progressive exhaustion of developmental constraints that regulate the process of ontogeny, that it is expected to go from the fertilized non-differentiated zygote to the mature fully developed organism, because there is no further point ahead in the developmental pathway past the reproductive age. Cancer in young individuals (before their reproductive maturity) may then be consequence of the premature derangement of such fundamental developmental constraints. In all cases the result is the loss of morphological coherence within the organism. Thus representing a conflict between an organized morphology (the organism) and a part of such a morphology that drifts towards an amorphous state (the tumor).
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Archival date: 2017-02-03
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