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Reflections on a Theory of Organisms: Holism in Biology

Published for the Johns Hopkins Dept. Of Earth and Planetary Sciences by the Johns Hopkins University Press (1987)

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  1. On Biological Science's Distinctiveness: Final Statement From an Old Master. What Makes Biology Unique? Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline. (2004). Ernst Mayr. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (Xiv + 232 Pp.) ISBN: 0‐521‐84114‐3. [REVIEW]Adam S. Wilkins - 2006 - Bioessays 28 (9):954-956.
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  • A Theory of Biochemical Organization, Metabolic Pathways, and Evolution.Harold J. Morowitz - 1999 - Complexity 4 (6):39-53.
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  • Machine Intelligence: A Chimera.Mihai Nadin - 2019 - AI and Society 34 (2):215-242.
    The notion of computation has changed the world more than any previous expressions of knowledge. However, as know-how in its particular algorithmic embodiment, computation is closed to meaning. Therefore, computer-based data processing can only mimic life’s creative aspects, without being creative itself. AI’s current record of accomplishments shows that it automates tasks associated with intelligence, without being intelligent itself. Mistaking the abstract for the concrete has led to the religion of “everything is an output of computation”—even the humankind that conceived (...)
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  • Biosemiotics Within and Without Biological Holism: A Semio-Historical Analysis. [REVIEW]Riin Magnus - 2008 - Biosemiotics 1 (3):379-396.
    On the basis of a comparative analysis of the biosemiotic work of Jakob von Uexküll and of various theories on biological holism, this article takes a look at the question: what is the status of a semiotic approach in respect to a holistic one? The period from 1920 to 1940 was the peak-time of holistic theories, despite the fact that agreement on a unified and accepted set of holistic ideas was never reached. A variety of holisms, dependent on the cultural (...)
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  • El mosaico de Bernard – La explicación causal en biología funcional.Gustavo Caponi - 2014 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 59 (3):567-590.
    Según un punto de vista muy difundido, y alineado con la concepción nómica de la explicación causal, la biología funcional está sometida a un régimen de heteronomía explicativa en cuyo marco los fenómenos orgánicos deben explicarse recurriendo a leyes oriundas de la física y la química. En contra de esa perspectiva, la concepción experimental de la causación permite entender la naturaleza de muchas explicaciones biológicas que, sin hacer referencia a leyes causales – físicas, químicas o de cualquier otra naturaleza – (...)
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  • A Biosemiotic Conversation: Between Physics and Semiotics.Howard H. Pattee & Kalevi Kull - 2009 - Sign Systems Studies 37 (1/2):311-330.
    In this dialogue, we discuss the contrast between inexorable physical laws and the semiotic freedom of life. We agree that material and symbolic structures require complementary descriptions, as do the many hierarchical levels of their organizations. We try to clarify our concepts of laws, constraints, rules, symbols, memory, interpreters, and semiotic control. We briefly describe our different personal backgrounds that led us to a biosemiotic approach, and we speculate on the future directions of biosemiotics.
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  • Rethinking the Experiment: Necessary Evolution.Mihai Nadin - 2018 - AI and Society 33 (4):467-485.
    The current assumptions of knowledge acquisition brought about the crisis in the reproducibility of experiments. A complementary perspective should account for the specific causality characteristic of life by integrating past, present, and future. A “second Cartesian revolution,” informed by and in awareness of anticipatory processes, should result in scientific methods that transcend the theology of determinism and reductionism. In our days, science, itself an expression of anticipatory activity, makes possible alternative understandings of reality and its dynamics. For this purpose, the (...)
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  • The Organism is Dead. Long Live the Organism!Manfred D. Laubichler - 2000 - Perspectives on Science 8 (3):286-315.
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  • Bootstrapping the Energy Flow in the Beginning of Life.R. Hengeveld & M. A. Fedonkin - 2007 - Acta Biotheoretica 55 (2):181-226.
    This paper suggests that the energy flow on which all living structures depend only started up slowly, the low-energy, initial phase starting up a second, slightly more energetic phase, and so on. In this way, the build up of the energy flow follows a bootstrapping process similar to that found in the development of computers, the first generation making possible the calculations necessary for constructing the second one, etc. In the biogenetic upstart of an energy flow, non-metals in the lower (...)
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  • Two Approaches to the Study of the Origin of Life.R. Hengeveld - 2007 - Acta Biotheoretica 55 (2):97-131.
    This paper compares two approaches that attempt to explain the origin of life, or biogenesis. The more established approach is one based on chemical principles, whereas a new, yet not widely known approach begins from a physical perspective. According to the first approach, life would have begun with—often organic—compounds. After having developed to a certain level of complexity and mutual dependence within a non-compartmentalised organic soup, they would have assembled into a functioning cell. In contrast, the second, physical type of (...)
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  • Complex Adaptive System Models and the Genetic Analysis of Plasma HDL-Cholesterol Concentration.Thomas J. Rea, Christine M. Brown & Charles F. Sing - 2006 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49 (4):490-503.
    Despite remarkable advances in diagnosis and therapy, ischemic heart disease (IHD) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries. Recent efforts to estimate the influence of genetic variation on IHD risk have focused on predicting individual plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration. Plasma HDL-C concentration (mg/dl), a quantitative risk factor for IHD, has a complex multifactorial etiology that involves the actions of many genes. Single gene variations may be necessary but are not individually sufficient to predict a (...)
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  • Causes and Consequences of Eukaryotization Through Mutualistic Endosymbiosis and Compartmentalization.R. Hengeveld & M. A. Fedonkin - 2004 - Acta Biotheoretica 52 (2):105-154.
    This paper reviews and extends ideas of eukaryotization by endosymbiosis. These ideas are put within an historical context of processes that may have led up to eukaryotization and those that seem to have resulted from this process. Our starting point for considering the emergence and development of life as an organized system of chemical reactions should in the first place be in accordance with thermodynamic principles and hence should, as far as possible, be derived from these principles. One trend to (...)
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