Self-Modifying Systems in Biology and Cognitive Science book cover

Self-Modifying Systems in Biology and Cognitive Science

A New Framework for Dynamics, Information and Complexity

The theme of this book is the self-generation of information by the self-modification of systems. The author explains why biological and cognitive processes exhibit identity changes in the mathematical and logical sense. This concept is the basis of a new organizational principle which utilizes shifts of the internal semantic relations in systems. There are mathematical discussions of various classes of systems (Turing machines, input-output systems, synergetic systems, non-linear dynamics etc), which are contrasted with the author's new principle. The most important implications of this include a new conception on the nature of information and which also provides a new and coherent conceptual view of a wide class of natural systems. This book merits the attention of all philosophers and scientists concerned with the way we create reality in our mathematical representations of the world and the connection those representations have with the way things really are.

Audience
For graduate students and professionals in system science, philosophy, methodology of science, theoretical biology, AI and cognitive science.

Hardbound, 543 Pages

Published: March 1991

Imprint: Pergamon

ISBN: 978-0-08-036979-2

Reviews

  • ...a landmark contribution to the theory of evolutionary systems...essential reading
    Allan Combs, World Futures Vol 33

Contents

  • Preface. Introduction. Models of life and mind. Pitfalls of dynamical models. A Constructive Approach to Models. Foundations. Causality and determinism: 'why'-s and 'how'-s. Time and information. Observables. The concept of information set. Encodings of observables into variables. The modelling relation. From Observations to a Theory of Dynamics. The Zeno paradoxes and the shuttle principle. On the notion of state. Anticipation and the existence proof for states. Material and formal implications. The Mechanistic Universe. An alternative view of mechanics. Dynamics as statics: the walled-in universe. The atomistic perspective. The nature of mechanistic systems. Component-Systems: Beyond Algorithmic Dynamics. The concept of component-system. Origins of the concept. Problem properties. The concept of immensity. The main theorem. Universal libraries. Creation and non-algorithmic self-modification. Complexity and Its Increase in Systems. The concept of complexity. Mathematical complexity theory. Relative complexity. Dynamic complexity. The increase of complexity. Self-Reproduction and Computation. Self-replication as a means for existence. Self-reproducing automata. Construction, reproduction and computation. Self-reference and autopoiesis. A model of self-reproduction. The Wigner paradox. The Concept of Information. Syntactic information concepts. Semantic concepts. Towards a causal theory. Two types of information: knowledge and action. Perspective. Law, form, and meaning: three vistas of causality. The Church-Turing hypothesis. References. Index. Authors index.

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