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  1. Bifurcate: There Is No Alternative

    Bifurcate: There Is No Alternative

    The collective work that produced this book is based on the claim that today's destructive development model is reaching its ultimate limits, and that its toxicity is generated above all by the fact that the current industrial economy is based on an obsolete physical model.


    Bifurcating means: reconstituting a political economy that reconnects local knowledge and practices with macroeconomic circulation and rethinks territoriality at its different scales of locality; developing an economy of contribution on the basis of a contributory income no longer tied to employment and once again valuing work as a knowledge activity; overhauling law, and government and corporate accounting, via economic and social experiments, including in laboratory territories, and in relation to cooperative, local market economies formed into networks and linked to international trade; revaluing research from a long-term perspective, independent of the short-term interests of political and economic powers; reorienting digital technology in the service of territories and territorial cooperation.
    The collective work that produced this book is based on the claim that today’s destructive development model is reaching its ultimate limits, and that its toxicity, which is increasingly massive, manifest and multidimensional (medical, environmental, mental, epistemological, economic – accumulating pockets of insolvency, which become veritable oceans), is generated above all by the fact that the current industrial economy is based in every sector on an obsolete physical model – a mechanism that ignores the constraints of locality in biology and the entropic tendency in reticulated computational information. In these gravely perilous times, we must bifurcate: there is no alternative.

  2. Organization, historicity and causality

    Two models dominate reflection on causality, namely mechanisms and physics. The former focuses on very local processes, while the latter focuses on ahistorical systems. We argue that neither is a sufficient framework for biology. Instead, in biology, parts of a system collectively maintain each other, which enables us to understand how biological systems maintain themselves. This perspective corresponds notably to autopoiesis and closure of constraints, and is sometimes called organization. In this view, the part maintain each other, leading to circularities. It implies that a systemic mode of thinking is critical to understand these phenomena. However, they are also historical: the organization they maintain is the singular result of evolution, and they change over time. It follows that causality in biology has two distinct features. First, it has a circular dimension: how do singular organizations maintain themselves? Second, it has to include historical changes: how do we understand the appearance of novelty?

  3. Theoretical biology: some strategic perspectives

    There is a lack of theoretical elaboration in biology, particularly in the study of organisms' life cycles. The underlying problem is the emergence of an episteme that structurally neglects these questions. In the case of biology, certain issues need to be addressed with precision, notably the articulation between systemic (physicalist or organicist) and historical (evolutionary but also developmental) reasoning. As an example of application, we will present the question of what disruption means in theoretical biology.

  4. “Reflecting team” intervention with Keynote commentators

    This Satellite Meeting takes the form of a workshop aiming to stimulate the discussion and the collaborative co-construction of new ideas about the nature and state of development of the modes of thinking in and for Complexity Studies. It aims at identifying key challenges and questions that call to be addressed, including those regarding the development of more complex modes of thinking. It will focus the discussion on the identification of key theoretical, empirical, methodological, technical and practical challenges and/or ways of addressing them. The workshop will aim to identify and explore how these key questions and challenges relate to the development or adaptation of tools and strategies to support the practice of particular modes of thinking in research and practice and to guide real-world interventions and educational activities (formal and informal). Through a transdisciplinary approach, this meeting aims at constructing and stimulating productive and generative dialogues for the development of more complex modes of thinking (in) Complexity. A Reflecting Team Intervention with Invited Keynote Commentators will support a critical exploration of the keynote addressed and set questions for debate. Contributed talks will be welcomed that add new perspectives, raise questions or share experiences that can stimulate further discussion.

  5. Computational empiricism : the reigning épistémè of the sciences

    Computational empiricism : the reigning épistémè of the sciences

    Philosophy World Democracy

    What do mainstream scientists acknowledge as original scientific contributions, that is, what is the current épistémè in natural sciences?


    What do mainstream scientists acknowledge as original scientific contributions? In other words, what is the current épistémè in natural sciences? This essay attempts to characterize this épistémè as computational empiricism. Scientific works are primarily empirical, generating data and computational, to analyze them and reproduce them with models. This épistémè values primarily the investigation of specific phenomena and thus leads to the fragmentation of sciences. It also promotes attention-catching results showing limits of earlier theories. However, it consumes these theories since it does not renew them, leading more and more fields to be in a state of theory disruption.

    Keywords: theory, statistical tests, empiricism, models, computation

  6. 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 to some perturbations that are described as triggering disruptions? In particular, what distinguishes endocrine disruptions from mere perturbations? We discuss the notion of disruption in the case of endocrine disruptors by first building on examples. We contend that disruptions are the randomization of natural history outcomes that contribute to viability. In the case of endocrine disruptions, development complexifies the picture, and it was the first argument for the specificity of this phenomenon. Another critical aspect of the analysis is the technological lineages leading to new molecules from the disrupted biological lineages' perspective. By conceptualizing and theorizing disruptions further, we hope to contribute to the scientific knowledge of these phenomena, build bridges between different fields studying different kinds of biological disruptions, and facilitate their understanding by the general public.

  7. 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 de l'entropie, mais aussi leur rôle dans des changements d'organisation. Plus précisément, l'anti-entropie correspond aux organisations biologique, prises comme résultat singulier de l'histoire biologique, évolutive et développementale, et parvenant à durer du fait même de cette singularité, par le maintient actif des composants d'un organisme. La production d'anti-entropie, elle, correspond à l'approfondissement de cette singularité, par l'apparition de nouveautés fonctionnelle. Nous discuterons en particulier le cas du sommeil, typiquement associé à un rythme externe et du développement correspondant à un rythme interne au prisme de la question de l'anti-entropie et de la production d'anti-entropie.

  8. 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 we can choose the latter arbitrarily. Symmetry breaking represents a kind of origin, the appearance of a new pattern; however, it remains limited to the choice of a pattern among predefined ones. In less technical terms, the objects described by physics (except maybe cosmology) are generic: their interactions and transformations are described by abstract mathematical structures that apply identically to classes of concrete objects. For example, the speed of light in the vacuum is the same irrespective of the origin of the observed beam of light. In biology, the situation is strikingly different. Even though mathematical modeling often builds on the reasoning of physics, these models are limited to very limited aspects of the intended organisms. By contrast, the phylogenetic classification of living beings introduced a very original rationale. Instead of defining objects by invariants relations, it defines objects by their historical origin, their last common ancestor. This perspective provides accuracy to biological definitions, provided that biological objects generate novelties over time. This approach has limitations when we want to understand the physiology or the development of organisms and how they last over time. Then, we argue that biology requires a perspective that integrates relational, systemic perspectives and historical definitions, i.e., definitions based on the common origin of a class of objects. Integrating these distinct epistemological stances requires significant epistemological and formal innovations. It implies that the definition of biological objects is not just about the relationship between their parts at a given time; it also requires the reference to their past.

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