Theoretical Biology and Complexity

Theoretical Biology and Complexity

Three Essays on the Natural Philosophy of Complex Systems

1st Edition - August 9, 1985

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  • Editor: Robert Rosen
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483272344

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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.

Table of Contents

  • List of Contributors


    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


    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


    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



Product details

  • No. of pages: 222
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1985
  • Published: August 9, 1985
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483272344

About the Editor

Robert Rosen

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