Information and Living Systems: Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives

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Overview

Information shapes biological organization in fundamental ways and at every organizational level. Because organisms use information—including DNA codes,gene expression, and chemical signaling—to construct, maintain, repair, and replicate themselves, it would seem only natural to use information-related ideas in our attempts to understand the general nature of living systems, the causality by which they operate, the difference between living and inanimate matter, and the emergence, in some biological species, of cognition, emotion, and language. And yet philosophers and scientists have been slow to do so. This volume fills that gap.

Information and Living Systems offers a collection of original chapters in which scientists and philosophers discuss the informational nature of biological organization at levels ranging from the genetic to the cognitive and linguistic.

The chapters examine not only familiar information-related ideas intrinsic to the biological sciences but also broader information-theoretic perspectives used to interpret their significance. The contributors represent a range of disciplines, including anthropology, biology,chemistry, cognitive science, information theory, philosophy, psychology, and systems theory, thus demonstrating the deeply interdisciplinary nature of the volume's bioinformational theme.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is an excellent addition to the literature on information and livingsystems." — Barton Moffat, Metascience
Choice

[ Information and Living Systems] will certainly be thought provoking and useful for researchers in the field.

Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology - Emily Miller
Whether interested readers want to deepen their understandings of topics close to their own fields or expand them by venturing farther away, this book is likely to offer something for most. Perhaps more importantly, however, this book very aptly presents, as the editors say, 'different, albeit overlapping, scientific and philosophical approaches to information-related issues within [many fields]' (p.

xxxvi) at a time when this is needed.

Philosophy in Review - Kevin Morris
... [A]n important challenge to a traditional, and intuitive, view of the epistemic efficacy of introspection, and to the prospects for a successful science of consciousness and mind; it merits the attention of anyone interested in these issues.
Choice
[ Information and Living Systems] will certainly be thought provoking and useful for researchers in the field.
Metascience - Barton Moffat
This book is an excellent addition to the literature on information and living systems.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262201742
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

George Terzis is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. His articles have appeared in such prominent journals as American Philosophical Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Philosophy,Philosophical Psychology, and Philosophical Studies.

Robert Arp has authored numerous articles and book chapters in ontology (in the information science sense), philosophy of mind, philosophy of biology, modern philosophy, and popular culture. He is the author of Scenario Visualization: An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving (MIT Press, 2008). He is also coauthor of Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology (MIT Press, in preparation) and Reasoning Well: An Introduction to Critical Thinking and is coeditor of Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology and Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology.

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