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Contents tagged “historicity”

There are 13 contents with the tag “historicity”:

  1. Historicity at the heart of biology

    Historicity at the heart of biology

    Theory in Biosciences


    Most mathematical modeling in biology rely on the epistemology of physics. By contrast, we argue that historicity comes first in biology.

    Abstract

    Most mathematical modeling in biology relies either implicitly or explicitly on the epistemology of physics. The underlying conception is that the historicity of biological objects would not matter to understand a situation here and now, or, at least, historicity would not impact the method of modeling. We analyze that it is not the case with concrete examples. Historicity forces a conceptual reconfiguration where equations no longer play a central role. We argue that all observations depend on objects defined by their historical origin instead of their relations as in physics. Therefore, we propose that biological variations and historicity come first, and regularities are constraints with limited validity in biology. Their proper theoretical and empirical use requires specific rationales.

    Keywords: Historicity, Organization, Epistemology, Mathematical modeling, Constraints

  2. The Identity of Organisms in Scientific Practice: Integrating Historical and Relational Conceptions

    The Identity of Organisms in Scientific Practice: Integrating Historical and Relational Conceptions

    Frontiers in Physiology


    We address the identity of biological organisms in scientific practices by combining relational and historical conceptions, and introduce a new symbol for that.

    Abstract

    We address the identity of biological organisms at play in experimental and modeling practices. We first examine the central tenets of two general conceptions, and we assess their respective strengths and weaknesses. The historical conception, on the one hand, characterizes organisms’ identity by looking at their past, and specifically at their genealogical connection with a common ancestor. The relational conception, on the other hand, interprets organisms’ identity by referring to a set of distinctive relations between their parts, and between the organism and its environment. While the historical and relational conceptions are understood as opposed and conflicting, we submit that they are also fundamentally complementary. Accordingly, we put forward a hybrid conception, in which historical and relational (and more specifically, organizational) aspects of organisms’ identity sustain and justify each other. Moreover, we argue that organisms’ identity is not only hybrid but also bounded, insofar as the compliance with specific identity criteria tends to vanish as time passes, especially across generations. We spell out the core conceptual framework of this conception, and we outline an original formal representation. We contend that the hybrid and bounded conception of organisms’ identity suits the epistemological needs of biological practices, particularly with regards to the generalization and reproducibility of experimental results, and the integration of mathematical models with experiments.

  3. De l’œuvre de Turing aux défis contemporains pour la compréhension mathématique du vivant

    De l’œuvre de Turing aux défis contemporains pour la compréhension mathématique du vivant

    Intellectica


    Turing distingue l’imitation d’un phénomène de sa modélisation. En biologie, il n'y a cependant pas encore de cadre théorique pour encadrer la pratique de modélisation.

    Abstract

    Turing distingue soigneusement l’imitation de la modélisation d’un phénomène. Cette dernière vise à saisir la structure causale du phénomène étudié. En biologie, il n’y a cependant pas de cadre théorique bien établi pour encadrer la pratique de modélisation. Nous partons de l’articulation entre la compréhension du vivant et la thermodynamique, en particulier le second principe. Ceci nous conduira à expliciter les défis théoriques et épistémologiques pour la compréhension mathématique du vivant. En particulier, l’historicité du vivant est un défi rarement abordé explicitement dans ce domaine. Nous pensons que ce défi nécessite un renversement complet de l’épistémologie de la physique afin d’aborder de manière théoriquement précise les organismes vivants. Ce changement épistémologique est pertinent tant pour la pratique théorique que pour l’interprétation des protocoles et résultats expérimentaux.

    Keywords: anti-entropie, entropie, épistémologie, historicité, morphogenèse, Turing

  4. Possibility spaces and the notion of novelty: from music to biology

    Possibility spaces and the notion of novelty: from music to biology

    Synthese


    What is a biological novelty? Is it possible to coin a sound concept of new possibility? What articulation between the concepts of novelty and function?

    Abstract

    We provide a new perspective on the relation between the space of description of an object and the appearance of novelties. One of the aims of this perspective is to facilitate the interaction between mathematics and historical sciences. The definition of novelties is paradoxical: if one can define in advance the possibles, then they are not genuinely new. By analyzing the situation in set theory, we show that defining generic (i.e., shared) and specific (i.e., individual) properties of elements of a set are radically different notions. As a result, generic and specific definitions of possibilities cannot be conflated. We argue that genuinely stating possibilities requires that their meaning has to be made explicit. For example, in physics, properties playing theoretical roles are generic; then, generic reasoning is sufficient to define possibilities. By contrast, in music, we argue that specific properties matter, and generic definitions become insufficient. Then, the notion of new possibilities becomes relevant and irreducible. In biology, among other examples, the generic definition of the space of DNA sequences is insufficient to state phenotypic possibilities even if we assume complete genetic determinism. The generic properties of this space are relevant for sequencing or DNA duplication, but they are inadequate to understand phenotypes. We develop a strong concept of biological novelties which justifies the notion of new possibilities and is more robust than the notion of changing description spaces. These biological novelties are not generic outcomes from an initial situation. They are specific and this specificity is associated with biological functions, that is to say, with a specific causal structure. Thus, we think that in contrast with physics, the concept of new possibilities is necessary for biology.

    Keywords: Novelty, Possibility space, Biological functions, Organization, Emergence

  5. Measurement in biology is methodized by theory

    Measurement in biology is methodized by theory

    Biology & Philosophy


    We characterize measurement in biology from a theoretical perspective with a focus on historicity. We analyze experimental strategies and reproducibility.

    Abstract

    We characterize access to empirical objects in biology from a theoretical perspective. Unlike objects in current physical theories, biological objects are the result of a history and their variations continue to generate a history. This property is the starting point of our concept of measurement. We argue that biological measurement is relative to a natural history which is shared by the different objects subjected to the measurement and is more or less constrained by biologists. We call symmetrization the theoretical and often concrete operation which leads to considering biological objects as equivalent in a measurement. Last, we use our notion of measurement to analyze research strategies. Some strategies aim to bring biology closer to the epistemology of physical theories, by studying objects as similar as possible, while others build on biological diversity.

    Keywords: Biological measurement, evolution, experiments, strains, symmetry, systematics

  6. Which first principles for mathematical modelling in biology?

    Which first principles for mathematical modelling in biology?

    Rendiconti di Matematica e delle sue Applicazioni


    Like theoretical physics, theoretical biology is not just mathematical modeling. Instead, it should strive to find principles to frame experiments and models.

    Abstract

    Like theoretical physics, theoretical biology is not just mathematical modeling. Instead, theoretical biology should strive to find suitable first principles to ground the understanding of biological phenomena and ultimately frame biological experiments and mathematical models. First principles in physics are expressed in terms of symmetries and the associated conservations, on the one side, and optimization on the other side. In biology, we argue instead that a strong notion of variation is fundamental. This notion encompasses new possibilities and the historicity of biological phenomena. By contrast, the relative regularity of some aspects of biological organisms, which we call constraints, should be regarded as the consequence of a mutual stabilization of the parts of organisms. We exemplify several aspects of this framework with the modeling of allometric relationships. Our change of perspective leads to reconsider the meaning of measurements and the structure of the space of description.

    Keywords: Allometry, first principles, Historicity, invariants, theoretical biology, Variability

  7. Entretien sur l’entropie, le vivant et la technique : Deuxième partie

    Entretien sur l’entropie, le vivant et la technique : Deuxième partie

    Links series


    Entretien entre B. Stiegler et M. Montévil sur l'entropie et l'anti-entropie dans l'étude du vivant et des techniques et les enjeux de l'Anthropocène.

  8. Entretien sur l’entropie, le vivant et la technique : Première partie

    Entretien sur l’entropie, le vivant et la technique : Première partie

    Links series


    Entretien entre B. Stiegler et M. Montévil sur l'entropie et l'anti-entropie dans l'étude du vivant et des techniques et pour les enjeux de l'Anthropocène.

  9. From the century of the genome to the century of the organism: New theoretical approaches

    From the century of the genome to the century of the organism: New theoretical approaches

    Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Special issue


    This focused issue of Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology is entitled "From the century of the genome to the century of the organism: New theoretical approaches." It was developed during Ana M. Soto’s tenure as Blaise Pascal Chair of Biology 2013-15 at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS,...

    Abstract

    This focused issue of Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology is entitled "From the century of the genome to the century of the organism: New theoretical approaches." It was developed during Ana M. Soto’s tenure as Blaise Pascal Chair of Biology 2013-15 at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS, Paris, France). Giuseppe Longo was the Pascal Chair host at the ENS. This ongoing theoretical was also used as the content of a 10 session course attended by graduate students and post-graduates, which took place at the National Museum of Natural History and at the ENS. The attendants of course encouraged the guest editors to make this material easily available, hence the origin of PBMB issue.

    Citation
    Soto, Ana M., G. Longo, Denis Noble, Nicole Perret, Maël Montévil, Carlos Sonnenschein, Matteo Mossio, Arnaud Pocheville, Paul-Antoine Miquel, and Su-Young Hwang. 2016. “From the Century of the Genome to the Century of the Organism: New Theoretical Approaches.” Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Special Issue 122 (1): 1–82. https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/progress-in-biophysics-and-molecular-biology/vol/122/issue/1
    Citation Publisher Details
  10. Theoretical principles for biology: Variation

    Theoretical principles for biology: Variation

    Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology


    Biological variation should be given the status of a fundamental theoretical principle in biology. Variation goes with randomness, historicity and contextuality.

    Abstract

    Abstract Darwin introduced the concept that random variation generates new living forms. In this paper, we elaborate on Darwin’s notion of random variation to propose that biological variation should be given the status of a fundamental theoretical principle in biology. We state that biological objects such as organisms are specific objects. Specific objects are special in that they are qualitatively different from each other. They can undergo unpredictable qualitative changes, some of which are not defined before they happen. We express the principle of variation in terms of symmetry changes, where symmetries underlie the theoretical determination of the object. We contrast the biological situation with the physical situation, where objects are generic (that is, different objects can be assumed to be identical) and evolve in well-defined state spaces. We derive several implications of the principle of variation, in particular, biological objects show randomness, historicity and contextuality. We elaborate on the articulation between this principle and the two other principles proposed in this special issue: the principle of default state and the principle of organization.

    Keywords: Variability, Historicity, Genericity, Biological randomness, Organization, Theory of organisms

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël, Matteo Mossio, A. Pocheville, and G. Longo. 2016. “Theoretical Principles for Biology: Variation.” Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 122 (1): 36–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2016.08.005
    Manuscript Citation Publisher Full text
  11. Toward a theory of organisms: Three founding principles in search of a useful integration

    Toward a theory of organisms: Three founding principles in search of a useful integration

    Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology


    We articulate three principles for a theory of organisms proposed, namely: the default state the principle of variation and the principle of organization.

    Abstract

    Abstract Organisms, be they uni- or multi-cellular, are agents capable of creating their own norms; they are continuously harmonizing their ability to create novelty and stability, that is, they combine plasticity with robustness. Here we articulate the three principles for a theory of organisms, namely: the default state of proliferation with variation and motility, the principle of variation and the principle of organization. These principles profoundly change both biological observables and their determination with respect to the theoretical framework of physical theories. This radical change opens up the possibility of anchoring mathematical modeling in biologically proper principles.

    Keywords: Default state, Biological organization, Organizational closure, Variation, Individuation

    Citation
    Soto, Ana M., G. Longo, P.-A. Miquel, M. Montevil, Matteo Mossio, N. Perret, A. Pocheville, and Carlos Sonnenschein. 2016. “Toward a Theory of Organisms: Three Founding Principles in Search of a Useful Integration.” Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 122 (1): 77–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2016.07.006
    Manuscript Citation Publisher Full text
  12. In search of principles for a Theory of Organisms

    In search of principles for a Theory of Organisms

    Journal of biosciences


    Lacking an operational theory to understand life cycles hinders progress in biology. We discuss elements towards such a theory, such as inertia and thermodynamics.

    Abstract

    Lacking an operational theory to explain the organization and behaviour of matter in unicellular and multicellular organisms hinders progress in biology. Such a theory should address life cycles from ontogenesis to death. This theory would complement the theory of evolution that addresses phylogenesis, and would posit theoretical extensions to accepted physical principles and default states in order to grasp the living state of matter and define proper biological observables. Thus, we favour adopting the default state implicit in Darwin’s theory, namely, cell proliferation with variation plus motility, and a framing principle, namely, life phenomena manifest themselves as non-identical iterations of morphogenetic processes. From this perspective, organisms become a consequence of the inherent variability generated by proliferation, motility and self-organization. Morphogenesis would then be the result of the default state plus physical constraints, like gravity, and those present in living organisms, like muscular tension.

    Keywords: Animals, Biological Evolution, Biophysics/methods, Cell Division, Mice, Models, Morphogenesis, Thermodynamics

    Citation
    Longo, Giuseppe, Mael Montevil, Carlos Sonnenschein, and Ana M. Soto. 2015. “In Search of Principles for a Theory of Organisms.” Journal of Biosciences 40 (5): 955–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12038-015-9574-9
    Manuscript Citation Publisher Full text
  13. Temps biologique et transitions critiques étendues - Vers une objectivation de l’état vivant de la matière

    Temps biologique et transitions critiques étendues - Vers une objectivation de l’état vivant de la matière


    Cette thèse se place dans le contexte d’une démarche théorique en biologie, s’inspirant, sans toutefois s’y réduire, des méthodes d’objectivation utilisées en physique. Pour cela, nous rapportons les possibles symétries et invariants biologiques sous forme de “lois d’échelles” empiriques (allométrie...

    Abstract

    Cette thèse se place dans le contexte d’une démarche théorique en biologie, s’inspirant, sans toutefois s’y réduire, des méthodes d’objectivation utilisées en physique. Pour cela, nous rapportons les possibles symétries et invariants biologiques sous forme de “lois d’échelles” empiriques (allométrie et fractales en particulier), ainsi que la variabilité associée. Nous abordons ensuite plusieurs aspects du temps biologique. Nous considérons une dimension temporelle supplémentaire, correspondant à l’autonomie de certains rythmes biologiques. Nous développons aussi une approche de la protension, comme principe d’organisation locale de la temporalité biologique.
    La notion de symétrie ayant un statut fondationel pour les théories physiques, nous interrogeons ensuite leur rôles en biologie. Partant de la notion de criticité étendue, nous proposons que la dynamique du vivant soit régie par une omniprésence des changements de symétries, constituant dès lors une historicité irréductible et conférant un statut théorique particulier à l’object et à la mesure en biologie. Nous appréhendons aussi la notion d’anti-entropie comme mesure d’un potentiel de variabilité.
    Nous nous intéressons ensuite à la question des niveaux d’organisation, par deux voies complémentaires. Nous l’abordons dans un premier temps par la notion de clôture organisationnelle. Ensuite nous la considérons comme associée à des singularités fortes, telles que dans les situations critiques. Enfin, nous esquissons un schème opératoriel de l’unité de l’organisme, qui combine un grand nombre des aspects préalablement exposés.

    Keywords: criticité, symmétries, historicité, variabilité, temps biologique, organisme, mesure, renormalisation

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