Development and Evolution: Complexity and Change in Biology

Overview

Development and Evolution surveys and illuminates the key themes of rapidly changing fields and areas of controversy that are redefining the theory and philosophy of biology. It continues Stanley Salthe's investigation of evolutionary theory, begun in his influential book Evolving Hierarchical Systems,while negating the implicit philosophical mechanisms of much of that work. Here Salthe attempts to reinitiate a theory of biology from the perspective of development rather than from that of evolution, recognizing ...

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Overview

Development and Evolution surveys and illuminates the key themes of rapidly changing fields and areas of controversy that are redefining the theory and philosophy of biology. It continues Stanley Salthe's investigation of evolutionary theory, begun in his influential book Evolving Hierarchical Systems,while negating the implicit philosophical mechanisms of much of that work. Here Salthe attempts to reinitiate a theory of biology from the perspective of development rather than from that of evolution, recognizing the applicability of general systems thinking to biological and social phenomena and pointing toward a non-Darwinian and even a postmodern biology.

Salthe's intent is nothing less than to provide, with this alternative paradigm, a position from which the deconstruction of the Bacononian/Cartesian/Newtonian/Darwinian/Comptian tradition becomes possible, while at the same time suggesting in its place an organic view predicated upon Aristotelian and Hegelian antecedents. In the face of complexity, we must alter our view of the universe as inherently ordered and predictable; order develops, but at great cost.

Explorating of the nature of change in a complex world, Salthe brings together such disparate areas as hierarchy theory, information theory, and semiotics in illuminating ways as he seeks a mode of answering questions as to the nature of complexity and as to how we might derive information from the interactions of the parts of a contextualized developing system.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Salthe (biology, City U. of New York) furthers his investigation of evolutionary theory begun in Evolving Hierarchical Systems (1985). Negating many of the implicit philosophical mechanisms in the earlier work, he initiates a theory of biology from the perspective of development rather than of evolution, applies general systems theory to biological and social phenomena, and clears ground toward a non-Darwinian, postmodern biology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262513838
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 8/13/2009
  • Series: Bradford Bks.
  • Pages: 373
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Observing and Making Complexity 2
Infodynamics 5
Aristotelian Complex Causality 10
Peircean Semiotics 13
Infodynamics in Biology 20
The Problem of Change 25
Ch. 2 Hierarchy Theory 35
The Scalar Hierarchy (H[subscript sc]) 36
The Specification Hierarchy 52
Ch. 3 Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics 95
The Classical, Externalist Formulation 96
Macroscopic Information as Entropic 117
The Internalist Perspective of Expanding Phase Space 120
Paired Infodynamical Perspectives 128
Toward an Infodynamics 131
Ch. 4 Self-Organization, Development, and Individuation 139
The Type/Token Distinction 140
Ecological and Genealogical Hierarchies 144
Development and Individuation 147
Self-Organization 151
Agency 159
Self-Organization as Modeling the Environment 166
Self-Organization and the Collecting/Cascading Cycle 173
Some New Theoretical Entities 180
Ch. 5 The Search for a Theory of Change 193
What Is Newness? 194
Newtonian "Change" - No Output without Input 197
Emergence 200
Emergence as a Mode of Development 214
Change in Hegelian Systems 227
Historical Dialectics 232
Dialectics and Development 238
Notes toward Modeling Change 241
Ch. 6 Immature, Mature, Senescent 245
Darwinian Cosmology 248
Developmental Cosmology 258
The Infodynamical View of the Origin and Evolution of Living Systems 277
Appendix: The Constructive Universe and the Evolutionary Systems Framework 291
Glossary 309
References 327
Name Index 347
Subject Index 353
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