Jump to main content

Hi, I'm Maël Montévil.

I am a theoretical biologist working at the crossroads of experimental biology, mathematics, and philosophy. I also work on the Anthropocene, among many other interests.

I work in IHPST, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne and in Institut de Recherche et d'Innovation.


Latest Publications

  1. Entropies and the Anthropocene crisis

    AI and society


    The contemporary Anthropocene crisis is frequently described as the rarefaction of resources or resources per capita. However, both energy and minerals correspond to fundamentally conserved quantities from a physical perspective. A specific concept is required to understand the rarefaction of these...

    Manuscript Citation Details

    Abstract:

    The contemporary Anthropocene crisis is frequently described as the rarefaction of resources or resources per capita. However, both energy and minerals correspond to fundamentally conserved quantities from a physical perspective. A specific concept is required to understand the rarefaction of these resources. This concept, entropy, pertains to the configurations of energy and matter and not just to their sheer amount. However, the physical concept of entropy is insufficient to understand biological and social organizations. Biological phenomena display both historicity and more synchronic, systemic properties. The concept of anti-entropy stems from the combination of these aspects. We propose that many vulnerabilities of living entities to the changes of the Anthropocene pertain to anti-entropy. They correspond to the entropization of anti-entropy, that is, a loss of organization. They can also be the disruption of anti-entropy production, that is to say, the loss of the ability to produce functional novelties.

    Keywords: entropy, anti-entropy, resources, organization, disruption, Anthropocene

    Citation:

    Montévil, Maël. n.d. “Entropies and the Anthropocene Crisis.” AI and Society

  2. Conceptual and theoretical specifications for accuracy in medicine

    Personalized Medicine in the Making: Philosophical Perspectives from Biology to Healthcare


    Technological developments in genomics and other -omics originated the idea that precise measurements would lead to better therapeutic strategies. However, precision does not entail accuracy. Scientific accuracy requires a theoretical framework to understand the meaning of measurements, the nature...

    Manuscript Citation Full text

    Abstract:

    Technological developments in genomics and other -omics originated the idea that precise measurements would lead to better therapeutic strategies. However, precision does not entail accuracy. Scientific accuracy requires a theoretical framework to understand the meaning of measurements, the nature of causal relationships, and potential intrinsic limitations of knowledge. For example, a precise measurement of initial positions in classical mechanics is useless without initial velocities; it is not an accurate measurement of the initial condition. Conceptual and theoretical accuracy is required for precision to lead to the progress of knowledge and rationality in action. In the search for accuracy in medicine, we first outline our results on a theory of organisms. Biology is distinct from physics and requires a specific epistemology. In particular, we develop the meaning of biological measurements and emphasize that variability and historicity are fundamental notions. However, medicine is not just biology; we articulate the historicity of biological norms that stems from evolution and the idea that patients and groups of patients generate new norms to overcome pathological situations. Patients then play an active role, in line with the philosophy of Georges Canguilhem. We argue that taking this dimension of medicine into account is critical for theoretical accuracy.

    Keywords: Normativity, Organization, Personalized Medicine, Technology, theoretical biology

    Citation:

    Montévil, Maël. n.d. “Conceptual and Theoretical Specifications for Accuracy in Medicine.” In Personalized Medicine in the Making: Philosophical Perspectives from Biology to Healthcare. Springer; Springer

  3. Le sens des formes en biologie

    Le sens des formes en biologie

    Biomorphisme


    Dans l’interface entre biologie et mathématiques, les formes et les processus de morphogenèse sont souvent étudiées pour eux-mêmes. Nous pensons que cette manière de procéder est insuffisante pour capturer le sens biologique de ces formes. La biologie comporte des spécificités qui se manifestent...

    Manuscript Citation Full text

    Abstract:

    Dans l’interface entre biologie et mathématiques, les formes et les processus de morphogenèse sont souvent étudiées pour eux-mêmes. Nous pensons que cette manière de procéder est insuffisante pour capturer le sens biologique de ces formes. La biologie comporte des spécificités qui se manifestent tant sur le plan philosophique que sur celui des principes théoriques : en particulier, tout processus biologique tel qu’un processus de morphogenèse ou une régulation physiologique (i) s’inscrit dans l’évolution et dans une histoire naturelle et (ii) s’intègre dans un organisme dont il dépend et auquel il participe. Nous aborderons alors le sens des formes biologiques à l’aune de ces principes, tant au niveau de la théorie qu’au niveau de la compréhension de l’accès expérimental aux objets biologiques.

    Citation:

    Montévil, Maël. n.d. “Le Sens Des Formes En Biologie.” In Biomorphisme. NAIMA

Read all publications


Forthcoming Talks

  1. Science in the storm: GMOs, agnotology, theory


    Private interests sometimes indulge in disrupting scientific knowledge. The study of these strategies with human sciences’ methods is called agnotology. In today’s event, we will discuss this matter from the perspective of scientists who were directly confronted with this kind of practice. We will …

See all talks