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  1. Theorizing biological disruptions: the case of endocrine disruptors


    The notion of disruption is used broadly in the scientific literature to describe anthropogenic, detrimental effects on living beings, from organisms to ecosystems. However, this notion is missing a proper theoretical and conceptual elaboration. Why do living beings display specific vulnerabilities…

  2. Intermittence, rythmes et anti-entropie dans le vivant


    Le vivant comporte bon nombre de rythmes, des rythmes ayant une origine externe, comme les rythmes circadiens ou circannuels, et des rythmes internes comme les cycles cardiaques ou respiratoires. Quel est le lien entre ces rythmes, le maintien des organisations biologiques face à la croissance tendancielle…

  3. Historical origins and the theoretical definition of objects in biology


    In the structure of the main theories of physics, origins play a limited role. For example, the Noether theorem, the fundamental theorem to understand the connection between conservative quantities (for example, energy) and symmetries (for example, time translations), requires a starting point, but…

  4. Pharmacologie du numérique


    Gérald Moore introduira la séance en présentant le contexte dopaminergique qu’il étudie. Inculquée par l’idéologie de « la guerre contre la drogue », la tendance est actuellement de concevoir l’addiction en terme de pathologie d’un « cerveau malade ». Une reconnaissance approfondie du système dopaminergique…

  5. Entropies and the Anthropocene crisis

    Entropies and the Anthropocene crisis

    AI and society


    Entropy is a transversal notion to understand the Anthropocene, from physics to biology and social organizations. For the living, it requires a counterpart: anti-entropy.

    Abstract

    The 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 the perspective of physics. A specific concept is required to understand the rarefaction of available resources. This concept, entropy, pertains to energy and matter configurations and not just to their sheer amount.
    However, the physics concept of entropy is insufficient to understand biological and social organizations. Biological phenomena display both historicity and systemic properties. A biological organization, the ability of a specific living being to last over time, results from history, expresses itself by systemic properties, and may require generating novelties The concept of anti-entropy stems from the combination of these features. We propose that Anthropocene changes disrupt biological organizations by randomizing them, that is, decreasing anti-entropy. Moreover, second-order disruptions correspond to the decline of the ability to produce functional novelties, that is, to produce anti-entropy.

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

  6. 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 …

  7. Disruption of biological processes in the Anthropocene: the case of phenological mismatch


    Biologists increasingly report anthropogenic disruptions of both organisms and ecosystems, suggesting that these processes are a fundamental, qualitative component of the Anthropocene crisis, seemingly generating disorder. Nonetheless, the notion of disruption has not yet been theorized as such in...

    Abstract

    Biologists increasingly report anthropogenic disruptions of both organisms and ecosystems, suggesting that these processes are a fundamental, qualitative component of the Anthropocene crisis, seemingly generating disorder. Nonetheless, the notion of disruption has not yet been theorized as such in biology. To progress on this matter, we build on a specific case. Relatively minor temperature changes disrupt plant-pollinator synchrony, tearing apart the web of life. Understanding this phenomenon requires a specific rationale since models describing them use both historical and systemic reasoning. Specifically, history justifies that the system is initially in a narrow part of the possibility space where it is viable, and the disruption randomizes this configuration. Building on this rationale, we develop a formal framework inspired by Boltzmann’s entropy. This framework defines the randomization of the system and leads to analyze its consequences systematically. Notably, maximum randomization does not lead to the complete collapse of the ecosystem. Moreover, pollinators’ robustness mostly increases viability for low randomizations, while resilience enhances viability after high randomizations. Applying this framework to empirical networks, we show historical trends depending on latitude, providing further evidence of climate change’s impact on ecosystems via phenology changes. These results lead to an initial definition of disruption in ecology. When a specific historical outcome contributes to a system’s viability, disruption is the randomization of this outcome, decreasing this viability.

  8. Vaccines, Germs, and Knowledge

    Vaccines, Germs, and Knowledge

    Philosophy World Democracy


    To provide a rational assessment of COVID-19 vaccines, we take a step back on both the history of this practice and the current theories in immunology.

    Abstract

    Vaccines for COVID-19 have led to questions, debates, and polemics on both their safety and the political and geopolitical dimension of their use. We propose to take a step back on both the history of this practice and how current theories in immunology understand it. Both can contribute to providing a rational assessment of COVID-19 vaccines. This assessment cannot consider vaccine as an isolated procedure, and we discuss its intergradation with the broader question of knowledge and politics in the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Keywords: epistemology, immunology, politics

  9. Comprendre le vivant par analogie avec l’ordinateur ou comprendre l’ordinateur par analogie avec le vivant


    L’analogie entre le vivant et l’ordinateur a été introduite avec circonspection par Schrödinger, et s’est largement propagée depuis, rarement avec un sens technique précis. Les critiques sur cette perspective sont nombreuses. Nous insisterons sur le fait que cette perspective est mobilisée pour justifier…

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