On Tuesday 30 March 2021 at 11:30. To participate, please contact: email@example.com “Variational tendencies: development as an ultimate cause” ABSTRACT The separation between ultimate and proximate causes is one of the most classical topics in the philosophy of biology. The … Continue reading
On Tuesday 16 March 2021 at 11:30. To participate, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org “Integrating entropy, constraints closure, and historicity to understand anthropogenic disruptions” ABSTRACT The term “disruption” is commonly used in the literature to describe anthropogenic damages on ecosystems and life … Continue reading
On Tuesday 9 March 2021, at 11:30. To participate, please contact: email@example.com “Autoorganización como propiedad de nivel. Una visión reduccionista no eliminativista de la perspectiva organizacional” [The presentation will be in Spanish] ABSTRACT: El comportamiento de los sistemas complejos se … Continue reading
We are happy to announce that the Outonomy (“Fleshing out autonomy beyond the individual”) project got officially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. The project is co-lead by Leonardo Bich and Xabier E. Barandiaran. As part of … Continue reading
On May 11, 2021, at 11:30.
To participate, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The classic thermodynamic account of life describes organisms as open systems, which compensate their internal low entropy by an increased dissipation in their surroundings. An intuitive consequence of this account is that complex living systems would seem to necessarily decrease the potential for life in their environment by their increased entropy production.
Within this framework, some accounts have attempted to explain biological organisation as a manifestation of the second law and the tendency to increase entropy; others have rejected this position as reductionist and moved to an account of biological organisation in non-thermodynamic terms. However, even if thermodynamics cannnot give a full account of biological organisation, there is in all cases a thermodynamic background to biological phenomena which needs to be accounted for in an understanding of the materiality of life.
In this context, James Lovelock’s idea, according to which a planet with life could be distinguished because of a thermodynamic disequilibrium in its atmospheric composition, shifts the discussion to the planetary scale, where the presence of Life becomes the explanans of a certain thermodynamic configuration. This observation, which corresponds to the Gaïan principle according to which Life modifies its physical environment to improve and maintain its own conditions of existence, has been recently developed in a systematic way by German physicist Axel Kleidon.
From this planetary standpoint, it is Life together with its physical environment that has to be considered as the primordial open, far from equilibrium dissipative system. So, while individual organisms or complex organisations within the Earth can be described as dissipative systems if considered separately from the whole, a full thermodynamic account needs to integrate them in the planetary scale, where they might (or might not) function as part of the global material organisation that sustains a low entropy environment.
Bio: Alejandro Merlo Ote (EHU/UPV)
- IAS-Research Talk Jo Bervoets (University of Antwerp), “Making sense of Tourettic sensibility (the joy of being let be?) “
- IAS-Research Talk, Cristian Saborido’s (UNED) presentation of his book “Filosofía de la Medicina” (in Spanish)
- IAS-Research talk (online), Matteo Mossio (CNRS & Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), “On why biological autonomy cannot live without closure”
- IAS-Research Talk (Online), Andrea Gambarotto (UC Louvain), “The Varieties of Kantian Teleology: A Contemporary Assessment”, 01/12/2020, 11:30
- The official call for the PhD scholarship in the OUTONOMY project is now OPEN
- PhD Scolarship 2020-2024: expression of interest is now OPEN
- IAS-Research Talk (Online) by Laura Nuño de la Rosa’s (Complutense University of Madrid): “Interviews on evolvability: reconstructing and explaining the recent history of evolutionary biology”
- IAS-Research Talk (Online) by Derek Skillings (University of North Carolina at Greensboro): “Can host-microbiome systems be healthy? Shaping ecosystems vs curing disease”
- IAS-Research Talk (Online) by Giorgio Airoldi (UNED): “Beyond Fitness: Robustness as measure of non-selective evolutionary phenomena “