Theoretical Biology and Complexity: Three Essays on the Natural Philosophy of Complex Systems is made up of three short essays—each separately conceived and written, each with distinct thrusts and emphases, but nevertheless closely related in substance and spirit. All three spring from a common concern: to grasp and comprehend the material basis of living systems.
The first essay is about the interaction between particles and the consequent observable manifestations. It casts the analysis of the measurement process into an elegant dualism relating modes of description, and explores the consequences of this dualism for what may be called classical physics. The second essay explores the deeper consequences of representing the properties of natural systems through states built up out of observable quantities, and the dynamics that such systems impose on each other through interactions. The final essay argues that traditional modes of system representation, involving fixed sets of states together with imposed dynamical laws, strictly pertains only to an extremely limited class of systems (called simple systems or mechanisms). Systems not in this class are called “complex,” and these can only be in some sense approximated, locally and temporally, by simple ones. Such a radical alteration of viewpoint leads to a large number of concrete, practical consequences, some of which are described in the essay.
List of Contributors Preface 1 The Dynamics and Energetics of Complex Real Systems I. Introduction II. Hierarchical Structure III. Forces and Fields IV. Congruence of Representations V. Scalar Potential Energy VI. Vector Potential Energy VII. Field Equations VIIL Pseudo-Potentials References 2 Categorical System Theory List of Special Symbols I. Introduction II. Preliminaries: Category Theory III. The Category of Formal Systems IV. Dynamical Systems V. Topological Dynamics VI. The Category of Natural Systems VII. Biological Implications VIII. Conclusion References 3 Organisms as Causal Systems Which are Not Mechanisms: An Essay into the Nature of Complexity I. Introduction II. Biology and Other Sciences III. Relational Biology IV. The (M, R)-Systems V. A First Attempt at Realization of (M, R)-Systems VI. The Modeling Relation VII. The Newtonian Paradigm VIII. Mappings and "System Laws" in the Newtonian Paradigm IX. Causality X. Complex Systems XI. An Alternative Approach: "Information" XII. Conclusion References Index
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- © Academic Press 1985
- 9th August 1985
- Academic Press
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