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Information and Living SystemsPhilosophical and Scientific Perspectives$
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George Terzis and Robert Arp

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262201742

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262201742.001.0001

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The Informational Nature of Biological Causality

The Informational Nature of Biological Causality

(p.157) 6 The Informational Nature of Biological Causality
Information and Living Systems

Alvaro Moreno

Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the kind of organization that is required to support Darwinian evolution, with particular interest in the type of material mechanisms and causal relationships underlying that organization, as well as the possible precursor forms of organization which led to it. It argues that the causal structure of cellular organization, as displayed by current living beings, comprises a very specific type of causal action, which is based on a strong dynamic decoupling and should be regarded as informational. Finally, the chapter explains why this form of causation is precisely what allows the establishment of a link between two different spheres or levels in the biological domain—the level of individual, autonomous systems or organisms; and the level of historical, collective processes—which is crucial to understanding proper Darwinian evolution, that is, an evolutionary process with true open-ended potential.

Keywords:   organization, Darwinian evolution, material mechanisms, causal relationships, cellular organization, dynamic decoupling, open-ended potential

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