The bulletin of mathematical biophysics

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 73–84 | Cite as

Contributions to relational biology

  • N. Rashevsky


The principle of biotopological mapping (Rashevsky, 1954,Bull. Math. Biophysics,16, 317–48) is given a generalized formulation, as the principle of relational epimorphism in biology. The connection between this principle and Robert Rosen’s representation of organisms by means of categories (1958,Bull. Math. Biophysics,20, 317–41) is studied. Rosen’s theory of (M,R)-systems, (1958,Bull. Math. Biophysics,20, 245–60) is generalized by dropping the assumption that only terminalM i components are sending inputs into theR i components. It is shown that, if the primordial organism is an (M,R)-system, then the higher organisms, obtained by a construction well discussed previously (1958,Bull. Math. Biophysics,20, 71–93), are also (M,R)-systems. Several theorems about such derived (M,R)-systems are demonstrated.

It is shown that Rosen’s concept of an organism as a set of mappings throws light on phenomena of synesthesia and also leads to the conclusion that Gestalt phenomena must occur not only in the fields of visual and auditory perception but in perceptions of any modality.


Rosen Directed Path High Organism Unicellular Organism Environmental Output 
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Copyright information

© University of Chicago 1960

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Rashevsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on Mathematical BiologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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