, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 273-294
Date: 17 Mar 2010

Co-emergences in life and science: a double proposal for biological emergentism

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Abstract

This article addresses the problem of emergence through a distinction, often neglected in the literature, between two different aspects of this issue: (1) the theoretical problem of providing modelizations able to explain the expression of emergent properties; (2) the epistemological problem of warranting the scientific value of the emergentist descriptions of nature. This paper considers this double issue with regard to the biological domain, and proposes a double solution (theoretical and epistemological) originally developed in early studies on self-organization. The underlying hypothesis is that this solution offers the current biological emergentism the opportunity of developing a coherent structure: matching consistently the theoretical and the epistemological frames of the research, that is, coupling the emergentist conception of life with an emergentist conception of science.

This article was written while L. Damiano was working at the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences Ritsumeikan University, 56-1 Kitamachi, Toji-in, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8577, Japan.