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Essays on Life Itself : Complexity in Ecological Systems - Robert Rosen

Essays on Life Itself

Complexity in Ecological Systems

Paperback Published: 2nd November 1999
ISBN: 9780231105118
Number Of Pages: 416
For Ages: 22+ years old

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Compiling twenty articles on the nature of life and on the objective of the natural sciences, this remarkable book complements Robert Rosen's groundbreaking "Life Itself" -- a work that influenced a wide range of philosophers, biologists, linguists, and social scientists. Breaking free from the constraints of reductionist reasoning, which maintains that simple, empirical mechanisms are the basis of all life, the renowned biophysicist tackles a remarkable range of subjects that will stimulate similarly far-reaching audiences.

In "Essays on Life Itself," Rosen takes to task the central objective of the natural sciences, calling into question the attempt to create objectivity in a subjective world. The book opens with an exploration of the interaction between biology and physics, unpacking SchrAdinger's famous text "What Is Life?" and revealing the shortcomings of the notion that artificial "intelligence" can truly replicate life. Rosen also challenges the paradox of the brain as organism and the receptacle of scientific reasoning. Elegantly rounding out his argument, the author reflects on the quandary of side effects, moments when science confronts unpredicted outgrowths of a process thought to be reduced to a system.

An intriguing enigma links all of the essays: How can science explain the unpredictable? As a century defined by extraordinary scientific progress draws to a close, "Essays on Life Itself" is a critical work that asks readers to reconsider what we have learned and where science can lead us in the years to come.

These 22 essays are intended for serious thinkers, as they are provocative and often iconoclastic. There are many new ideas, daring perspectives, and challenging modes of interpretation of concepts that readers may have mistakenly thought they understood... I am equally sure that readers will enjoy and benefit from these essays. -- Bruce J. West The Quarterly Review of Biology

Prefacep. ix
On Biology and Physicsp. 1
The Schrodinger Question, What Is Life? Fifty-Five Years Laterp. 5
Biological Challenges to Contemporary Paradigms of Physics and Mimeticsp. 33
What Is Biology?p. 45
On Biology and the Mindp. 57
The Church-Pythagoras Thesisp. 63
Drawing the Boundary Between Subject and Object: Comments on the Mind-Brain Problemp. 82
Mind as Phenotypep. 96
On Psychomimesisp. 115
The Mind-Brain Problem and the Physics of Reductionismp. 126
On Genericityp. 141
Genericity as Informationp. 145
Syntactics and Semantics in Languagesp. 156
How Universal Is a Universal Unfolding?p. 171
System Closure and Dynamical Degeneracyp. 175
Some Random Thoughts About Chaos and Some Chaotic Thoughts About Randomnessp. 187
Similarity and Dissimilarity in Biologyp. 197
Optimality in Biology and Medicinep. 201
Morphogenesis in Networksp. 224
Order and Disorder in Biological Control Systemsp. 246
What Does It Take to Make an Organism?p. 254
On Biology and Technologyp. 271
Some Lessons of Biologyp. 275
Bionics Revisitedp. 283
On the Philosophy of Craftp. 297
Cooperation and Chimerap. 308
Are Our Modeling Paradigms Nongeneric?p. 324
Referencesp. 341
Indexp. 347
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231105118
ISBN-10: 0231105118
Series: Complexity in Ecological Systems
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 2nd November 1999
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 16.5  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.58

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