David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 185 (2):215-232 (2012)
In this article an epistemological framework is proposed in order to integrate the emergentist thought with systemic studies on biological autonomy, which are focused on the role of organization. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the observer’s activity, especially: (a) the different operations he performs in order to identify the pertinent elements at each descriptive level, and (b) the relationships between the different models he builds from them. According to the approach sustained here, organization will be considered as the result of a specific operation of identification of the relational properties of the functional components of a system, which do not necessarily coincide with the intrinsic properties of its structural constituents. Also, an epistemological notion of emergence—that of “complex emergence”—will be introduced, which can be defined as the insufficiency, even in principle, of a single descriptive modality to provide a complete description of certain classes of systems. This integrative framework will allow us to deal with two issues in biological and emergentist studies: (1) distinguishing the autonomy proper of living systems from some physical processes like those of structural stability and pattern generation, and (2) reconsidering the notion of downward causation not as a direct or indirect influence of the whole on its parts, but instead as an epistemological problem of interaction between descriptive domains in which the concept of organization proposed and the observational operations related to it play a crucial role.
|Keywords||Autopoiesis Biological autonomy Complex emergence Downward causation Organization Pattern generation|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jaegwon Kim (1998). Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind-Body Problem and Mental Causation. MIT Press.
Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson & Eleanor Rosch (1991). The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. MIT Press.
Humberto R. Maturana & Francisco G. Varela (1980). Autopoiesis and Cognition the Realization of the Living.
Francisco J. Varela (1979). Principles of Biological Autonomy. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Robert Rosen (1991). Life Itself a Comprehensive Inquiry Into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Citations of this work BETA
Matteo Mossio, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno (2013). Emergence, Closure and Inter-Level Causation in Biological Systems. Erkenntnis 78 (2):153-178.
Matteo Mossio & Leonardo Bich (forthcoming). What Makes Biological Organisation Teleological? Synthese:1-26.
Kari L. Theurer (2014). Complexity-Based Theories of Emergence: Criticisms and Constraints. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (3):277-301.
Similar books and articles
Paul Thompson (2003). The Revival of 'Emergence' in Biology. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):217-229.
Alan Levin (2010). A Top-Down Approach to a Complex Natural System: Protein Folding. [REVIEW] Axiomathes 20 (4):423-437.
Bryon Cunningham (2001). The Reemergence of 'Emergence'. Philosophy of Science 3 (September):S63-S75.
Leo Hellerman (2006). Representation of Living Forms. Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):537-552.
Robert C. Richardson (2001). Complexity, Self-Organization and Selection. Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):653-682.
E. Bernard-Weil (1995). Self-Organization and Emergence Are Some Irrelevant Concepts Without Their Association with the Concepts of Hetero-Organization and Immergence. Acta Biotheoretica 43 (4):351-362.
Robert C. Bishop & Harald Atmanspacher (2006). Contextual Emergence in the Description of Properties. Foundations of Physics 36 (12):1753-1777.
Mark A. Bedau (2008). Is Weak Emergence Just in the Mind? Minds and Machines 18 (4):443-459.
Harald Atmanspacher (2006). Contextual Emergence in the Description of Properties. Foundations of Physics 36 (12):1753-1777.
Added to index2010-03-03
Total downloads39 ( #100,344 of 1,789,836 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #262,651 of 1,789,836 )
How can I increase my downloads?