Biological Robustness

Emerging Perspectives from within the Life Sciences

  • Marta Bertolaso
  • Silvia Caianiello
  • Emanuele Serrelli

Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 23)

Table of contents

About this book


This volume reviews examples and notions of robustness at several levels of biological organization. It tackles many philosophical and conceptual issues and casts an outlook on the future challenges of robustness studies in the context of a practice-oriented philosophy of science. The focus of discussion is on concrete case studies. These highlight the necessity of a level-dependent description of robust biological behaviors.Experts from the neurosciences, biochemistry, ecology, biology, and the history and the philosophy of life sciences provide a multiplex perspective on the topic. Contributions span from protein folding, to cell-level robustness, to organismal and developmental robustness, to sensorimotor systems, up to the robustness of ecological systems.Several chapters detail neurobiological case-studies. The brain, the poster child of plasticity in biology, offers multiple examples of robustness. Neurobiology explores the importance of temporal organization and multiscalarity in making this robustness-with-plasticity possible. The discussion also includes structures well beyond the brain, such as muscles and the complex feedback loops involved in the peculiar robustness of music perception. Overall, the volume grounds general reflections upon concrete case studies, opening to all the life sciences but also to non-biological and bio-inspired fields such as post-modern engineering. It will appeal to researchers, students, as well as non-expert readers.


Adaptive Design Biological Networks Biological Robustness Biological Systems Causation neurological system adaptation central nervous system evolution biomimicry engineering Plasticity in biology temporal organization robustness multiscalarity robustness robust design Jen neuroscience robustness Wagner Robustness and Evolvability development organisms adaptive Bateson Plasticity Robustness Development Evolution ecological robustness evolutionary robustness developmental robustness

Editors and affiliations

  • Marta Bertolaso
    • 1
  • Silvia Caianiello
    • 2
  • Emanuele Serrelli
    • 3
  1. 1.FAST Institute of Philosophy of Scientific Practice and Faculty of EngineeringUniversity Campus Bio-Medico of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Institute for the History of Philosophy and Science in Modern Age (ISPF)Italian National Research CouncilNaplesItaly
  3. 3.CISEPS - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social SciencesUniversity of Milano Bicocca CISEPSBresciaItaly

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-01197-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-01198-7
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-1948
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-1956
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