The dynamic systems perspective has been touted as an integrative metatheoretical framework for the study of stability and change in development. However, two dynamic systems camps exist with respect to the role higher-order form, once emergent, plays in the process of development. This paper evaluates these two camps in terms of the overarching world views they embody. Some dynamic systems proponents ground their conceptualization of development in pure contextualist terms by privileging the here-and-now in the explanation of development, whereas other proponents adopt an integration of organismic and contextualist world views by considering both local context and higher-order form in their explanatory accounts. These different ontological premises affect how each camp views the process of self-organization, the principle of circular causality and the very nature of explanation in developmental science.

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