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The Mechanical Mind in History$
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Phil Husbands, Owen Holland, and Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262083775

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262083775.001.0001

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D’Arcy Thompson: A Grandfather of A-Life1

D’Arcy Thompson: A Grandfather of A-Life1

(p.40) (p.41) 3 D’Arcy Thompson: A Grandfather of A-Life1
The Mechanical Mind in History

Margaret A. Boden

The MIT Press

In 1917 D’Arcy Thompson published his celebrated book On Growth and Form. This chapter discusses how this pioneering work of mathematical biology, in which Thompson sought to develop a quantitative approach to biological forms and processes of growth, not only helped to pave the way for modern theoretical biology but also prefigured the contemporary field of artificial life (or A-Life)—the study of life in general, abstract terms. As well as influencing Alan Turing’s work on morphogenesis, it emphasized the embodied nature of natural intelligence, a theme that has become increasingly central to contemporary cognitive science.

Keywords:   mathematical biology, theoretical biology, artificial life, natural intelligence, cognitive science

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