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Functions in Biological and Artificial WorldsComparative Philosophical Perspectives$
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Ulrich Krohs and Peter Kroes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262113212

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262113212.001.0001

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The Cost of Modularity

The Cost of Modularity

(p.259) 15 The Cost of Modularity
Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds

Ulrich Krohs

The MIT Press

This chapter compares the biological accounts of the evolution of modules with what is known about the evolution of modular systems in engineering. It describes the problem of mapping functions on a modular structure. It demonstrates that the benefits and the costs must be considered to explain the evolution of modular organization of biological organisms. It specifically explains the costs of a longer period of development, tara costs, autonomy costs, and costs for module-wise replacement. This chapter shows that there might have been an adaptive evolutionary path leading to the modular organization, without eliminating the possibility that exactly the proposed evolutionary pathway was highly unlikely to occur because of fitness-decreasing “side effects”.

Keywords:   modular systems, engineering, mapping functions, modular structure, modular organization, biological organisms, tara costs, autonomy costs, module-wise replacement

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