David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 23 (3):403-416 (2008)
We consider, from a physical perspective, the case where the interface between an organism and its environment becomes large enough that it acts as a buffer regulating their matter and energy exchanges. We illustrate the physiological and evolutionary role of buffers through the example of lungfish estivation. Then we ponder the relevance of buffers of this kind to the quest for a general definition of concepts like niche construction, the extended phenotype, and related ones, whose meaning is conveyed at present mostly through particular examples. Finally, we comment on the potential significance of buffers to organism—environment codetermination in the sense originally suggested by Lewontin.
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
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Eva Jablonka, Marion J. Lamb & Anna Zeligowski (2006). Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life. A Bradford Book.
Léon Brillouin (1956/2004). Science and Information Theory. Dover Publications.
Erwin Schrödinger (1967). What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell & Mind and Matter. Cambridge, University P..
R. C. Lewontin (1983). The Organism as the Subject and Object of Evolution. Scientia 77 (18):65.
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