Reviving the Living: Meaning Making in Living Systems presents a novel perspective that relates to current biological knowledge and issues. Written by polymath Dr. Yair Neuman, the book challenges the dogmas that frame our understanding of living systems and presents a radical alternative approach to understanding the world around us, one that avoids the pitfalls of non-scientific perspectives such as Vitalism and Creationism. In this thought provoking and iconoclastic manuscript, Neuman follows the footsteps of Gregory Bateson, Mikhail Bakhtin, Michael Polanyi and others, to suggest that living systems are meaning making systems. The book delves into the unique processes of meaning making that characterize organisms as a unique category of nature, and offers new and fascinating insights into a variety of enigmatic biological phenomena from immune memory to hidden life (cryptobiosis). It consists of four parts divided into 18 chapters and covers topics ranging from reductionism and its pitfalls to genetics; why organisms are irreducible; immunology; meaning making in language and biology; meaning-bridging the gap between physics and semantics; context and memory; and the poetry of living. Core concepts and themes are illustrated using examples based in current science. This text would be of high interest to biologists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and semioticians, as well as to any reflective individual who is willing to examine the realm of the living from a novel and fascinating perspective.
* Presents a novel perspective that relates to current biological knowledge and issues * Poses thought provoking ideas for theoretical biologists, those studying philosophy of science and the mind, cognitive scientists, semioticians, and people involved with Artificial Intelligence. * Includes examples based in current science to illustrate core concepts and themes
Biologists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, psychologists, semioticians, general audience
Table of Contents
PART 1. HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? REDUCTIONISM AND ITS LIMITATIONS Ch. 1: What is Reductionism? Ch. 2: Who is Reading the Book of Life? Ch. 3: Genetics: From Grammar to Meaning Making Ch. 4: A Point for Thought: Why are Organisms Irreducible? Ch. 5: A Point for Thought: Does the Genetic System Include a Meta-Language? Ch. 6: Immunology: From Soldiers to Housewives? Ch. 7: A Point for Thought: Immune Specificity and Brancusi's Kiss Ch. 8: A Point for Thought: Reflections on the Immune Self
PART 2. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS STORY? Ch. 9: Meaning Making in Language and Biology Ch. 10: God's Sacred Words Ch. 11: It Means Nothing Ch. 12: A Point for Thought: Meaning-Bridging the Gap Between Physics and Semantics Ch. 13: The Rest is Silence
PART 3. ON THE WILD SIDE: FOUR LESSONS Ch. 14: The Polysemy of the Sign: A Quantum Lesson Ch. 15: Recursive-Hierarchy: A Lesson From the Tardigrade Ch. 16: Context and Memory: A Lesson From Funes the Memorious Ch. 17: Transgradience: A Lesson from Bakhtin
PART 4. FROM MECHANICS TO POIESIS Ch. 18: The Poetry of Living