, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 273–294 | Cite as

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



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.


Autonomy Autopoiesis Co-emergence Dialog Organizational closure Self-organization 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Adaptive Systems Research Group, E122, School of Computer Science and STRIUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK

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