Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):237-265 (2016)

Authors
Kepa Ruiz Mirazo
University of the Basque Country
Abstract
Biological regulation is what allows an organism to handle the effects of a perturbation, modulating its own constitutive dynamics in response to particular changes in internal and external conditions. With the central focus of analysis on the case of minimal living systems, we argue that regulation consists in a specific form of second-order control, exerted over the core regime of production and maintenance of the components that actually put together the organism. The main argument is that regulation requires a distinctive architecture of functional relationships, and specifically the action of a dedicated subsystem whose activity is dynamically decoupled from that of the constitutive regime. We distinguish between two major ways in which control mechanisms contribute to the maintenance of a biological organisation in response to internal and external perturbations: dynamic stability and regulation. Based on this distinction an explicit definition and a set of organisational requirements for regulation are provided, and thoroughly illustrated through the examples of bacterial chemotaxis and the lac-operon. The analysis enables us to mark out the differences between regulation and closely related concepts such as feedback, robustness and homeostasis.
Keywords Regulation  Dynamic stability  Control  Organisation  Dynamical decoupling  Feedback
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1007/s10539-015-9497-8
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References found in this work BETA

Investigations.Stuart A. Kauffman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Autopoiesis, Adaptivity, Teleology, Agency.Ezequiel A. Di Paolo - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (4):429-452.
An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
The Principles of Life.Tibor Ganti - 2003 - Oxford University Press UK.

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Genidentity and Biological Processes.Thomas Pradeu - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.

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