Biophysics

Essays on Life Itself by Robert Rosen

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By Robert Rosen

Compiling twenty articles at the nature of lifestyles and at the target of the normal sciences, this outstanding publication enhances Robert Rosen's groundbreaking Life Itself―a paintings that inspired quite a lot of philosophers, biologists, linguists, and social scientists. In Essays on existence Itself, Rosen takes to activity the critical goal of the ordinary sciences, calling into query the try to create objectivity in a subjective global and forcing us to re-examine the place technological know-how can lead us within the future years.

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Roughly speaking, the transfer function of a system describes how it transduces input or forcing into output or behavior. It is the central concept of linear system theory. But it makes sense only for linear systems, and it does not generalize. . Expressions of the form “the function of the heart is to pump blood” or “the function of an enzyme is to catalyze a reaction” are regarded as teleological, hence vitalistic, hence unscientific (see Life Itself, section D). Recall the discussion of the Mendelian gene, initially defined purely in functional terms, and the concomitant denial of its reality on such grounds.

But there are many ways a system can be open. So far, I have dis- The Schro¨dinger Question  cussed only thermodynamic openness, characterized by energetic and material fluxes through the system. These are characterized by corresponding sources and sinks generally residing outside the system itself, in its environment. Inherent in this view is the notion of the system exerting forces on its environment, acting as a pump and driving the flow from sources to sinks. However, an open system in this thermodynamic sense can itself be forced: the environment can impress forces on the system.

But as we have seen, it is simply not there; mathematical systems without impredicativities are too nongeneric, as mathematical systems in their own right, to accommodate them. Likewise, the touchstone of objectivity in the Planckian sense is simply an assertion of the absence of impredicativities in material nature. ” But just as in mathematics, systems without impredicativities are excessively impoverished in entailment, in what can happen in them; that is precisely the consequence of how nongeneric they are.

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