Dimensions de l’historicité du vivant : de l’épistémologie à l’Anthropocène
On biological novelties
Architectonique théorique en biologie et applications
Si la physique, notamment la mécanique classique, a largement été mobilisée comme modèle de la compréhension théorique de la nature, la biologie a dans une certaine mesure, réussi à s'en détacher avec la théorie de l'évolution, une théorie où l'historicité est première. Néanmoins, cette innovation épistémologique et méthodologique n'est pas miscible avec la méthode de théorisation physique et il s'ensuit une étrange cohabitation dont les enjeux sont rarement traités. Nous proposerons des directions pour repenser la théorisation en biologie en insistant sur le concept de nouveau possible. Nous montrerons aussi que ce travail permet de mieux comprendre des phénomènes biologiques cruciaux : la disruption des organisations biologique dans l'Anthropocène.
Plaine Commune, contributive learning territory
Memories for the Future: Thinking with Bernard Stiegler
The contributive economy is a strategy to disrupt technological disruption by developing knowledge in all its forms. This program has led to several concrete working groups in Plaine Commune.
The program Plaine Commune, contributive learning territory, started in late 2016. It emerged from the theoretical work of Bernard Stiegler and the Ars Industrialis group. The contributive economy is a strategy to disrupt technological disruption by developing knowledge in all its forms. This program has led to several concrete working groups in Plaine Commune, while others are still developing. Mainly, work is taking place on the economy, digital urbanism, and young children’s development in the context of the overuse of digital media. Here, we focus on the group on digital media and young children’s development and how academics and inhabitant works integrate.
CitationMontévil, Maël. 2023. “Plaine Commune, Contributive Learning Territory.” In Memories for the Future: Thinking with Bernard Stiegler, edited by Bart Buseyne, Georgios Tsagdis, and Paul Willemarck
Modeling organogenesis from biological first principles
Organization in Biology: Foundational Enquiries into a Scientific Blindspot
Here we discuss the application and articulation of biological principles for mathematical modeling of morphogenesis in the case of mammary ductal morphogenesis, with an emphasis on the default state.
Unlike inert objects, organisms and their cells have the ability to initiate activity by themselves, and thus change their properties or states even in the absence of an external cause. This crucial difference led us to search for principles suitable for the study organisms. We propose that cells follow the default state of proliferation with variation and motility, a principle of biological inertia. This means that in the presence of sufficient nutrients, cells will express their default state. We also propose a principle of variation that addresses two central features of organisms, variation and historicity. To address interdependence between parts, we use a third principle, the principle of organization: more specifically, the notion of the closure of constraints. Within this theoretical framework, constraints are specific theoretical entities defined by their relative stability with respect to the processes they constrain. Constraints are mutually dependent in an organized system and act on the default state.
Here we discuss the application and articulation of these principles for mathematical modeling of morphogenesis in a specific case, that of mammary ductal morphogenesis, with an emphasis on the default state. Our model has both a biological component, the cells, and a physical component, the matrix that contains collagen fibers. Cells are agents that move and proliferate unless constrained; they exert mechanical forces that i) act on collagen fibers and ii) on other cells. As fibers are organized, they constrain the cells’ ability to move and to proliferate. This model exhibits a circularity that can be interpreted in terms of the closure of constraints. Implementing our mathematical model shows that constraints to the default state are sufficient to explain the formation of mammary epithelial structures. Finally, the success of this modeling effort suggests a step-wise approach whereby additional constraints imposed by the tissue and the organism can be examined in silico and rigorously tested by in vitro and in vivo experiments, in accordance with the organicist perspective we embrace.
CitationMontévil, Maël, and Ana Soto. 2023. “Modeling Organogenesis from Biological First Principles.” In Organization in Biology: Foundational Enquiries into a Scientific Blindspot, edited by Matteo Mossio. Springer Nature
Normativité et infidélités du milieu : actualités biologiques de Canguilhem
La philosophie et ses dehors
Quelques remarques sur la pertinence de la philosophie de Canguilhem sur les enjeux contemporains, de la medecine par la preuve à la disruption des organisations biologiques.
CitationMontévil, Maël. 2023. “Normativité et Infidélités Du Milieu : Actualités Biologiques de Canguilhem.” In La Philosophie et Ses Dehors. Centre Lauragais d’Études Scientifiques
How does randomness shape the living?
Figuring Chance: Questions of Theory
In biology, randomness is a critical notion to understand variations; however this notion is typically not conceptualized precisely. Here we provide some elements in that direction.
Physics has several concepts of randomness that build on the idea that the possibilities are pre-given. By contrast, an increasing number of theoretical biologists attempt to introduce new possibilities, that is to say, changes of possibility space – an idea already discussed by Bergson and that was not genuinely pursued scientifically until recently (except, in a sense, in systematics, i.e, the method to classify living beings).
Then, randomness operates at the level of possibilities themselves and is the basis of the historicity of biological objects. We emphasize that this concept of randomness is not only relevant when aiming to predict the future. Instead, it shapes biological organizations and ecosystems. As an illustration, we argue that a critical issue of the Anthropocene is the disruption of the biological organizations that natural history has shaped, leading to a collapse of biological possibilities.
CitationMontévil, Maël. 2023. “How Does Randomness Shape the Living?” In Figuring Chance: Questions of Theory, edited by Anne Duprat and others. Routledge