, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 355–383 | Cite as

Hierarchical Structures

Original Paper


This paper compares the two known logical forms of hierarchy, both of which have been used in models of natural phenomena, including the biological. I contrast their general properties, internal formal relations, modes of growth (emergence) in applications to the natural world, criteria for applying them, the complexities that they embody, their dynamical relations in applied models, and their informational relations and semiotic aspects.


Change Composition Development Emergence Heterarchy Levels Meronomy Process Semiosis Subsumption Taxonomy 



I thank Arto Annila, Joseph Brenner, Michael Corner, Malcolm Dean, Andrew Finkelkurts, Paul Gerome, Sungchul Ji, Cliff Joslyn, Nadja Kunz, John McCrone, Gary G. Nelson, Stuart Newman, Bjorn Reese, Kim Sterelny, Jitse van der Meer, and Jerry Zhu for helpful discussion and comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professor Emeritus, Department of BiologyCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesBinghamton UniversityNew YorkUSA

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