Topology and life redux: Robert Rosen's relational diagrams of living systems [Book Review]

Axiomathes 17 (2):109-136 (2007)
Abstract
Algebraic/topological descriptions of living processes are indispensable to the understanding of both biological and cognitive functions. This paper presents a fundamental algebraic description of living/cognitive processes and exposes its inherent ambiguity. Since ambiguity is forbidden to computation, no computational description can lend insight to inherently ambiguous processes. The impredicativity of these models is not a flaw, but is, rather, their strength. It enables us to reason with ambiguous mathematical representations of ambiguous natural processes. The noncomputability of these structures means computerized simulacra of them are uninformative of their key properties. This leads to the question of how we should reason about them. That question is answered in this paper by presenting an example of such reasoning, the demonstration of a topological strategy for understanding how the fundamental structure can form itself from within itself.
Keywords Relational biology  Robert Rosen  Closure to efficient causation  Noncomputability  Traversability
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