COVID-19 Update: We are currently shipping orders daily. However, due to transit disruptions in some geographies, deliveries may be delayed. To provide all customers with timely access to content, we are offering 50% off Science and Technology Print & eBook bundle options. Terms & conditions.
Theoretical Biology and Complexity - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780125972802, 9781483272344

Theoretical Biology and Complexity

1st Edition

Three Essays on the Natural Philosophy of Complex Systems

Editor: Robert Rosen
eBook ISBN: 9781483272344
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 9th August 1985
Page Count: 222
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Subscription

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

Free global shipping
No minimum order.


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




No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1985
9th August 1985
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Robert Rosen

Ratings and Reviews