Autonomy beyond the proto-cell: towards a ‘dialectical turn’ in origins-of-life research

14 December 2022

Autonomy beyond the proto-cell: towards a ‘dialectical turn’ in origins-of-life research

     Life’s complexity – even if we just stick to its basic core, the prokaryotic world – is overwhelming. This is not only due to the diversity of biomolecules and their amazing structural properties, or to the multiple and sophisticated transformations they undergo, but also to their dynamic organization and functional integration into cells. Let […]

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On hemianopsia, vision and adaptive reactions in organism’s pathological states

29 November 2022

On hemianopsia, vision and adaptive reactions in organism’s pathological states

In an unpublished manuscript datable to 1956-1957, La vision comme modèle de la connaissance[1] (Vision as a model of knowledge), the philosopher of medicine and biology Georges Canguilhem referred to specific biological-adaptive mechanisms compensating for some human vision anomalies, particularly hemianopic anomalies. In individuals in whom it tends to occur, hemianopsia (or hemianopia) involves the loss of one half of a […]

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What do we want from Jakob von Uexküll? Two Reading Recommendations on Open and Closed Umwelten

15 November 2022

What do we want from Jakob von Uexküll? Two Reading Recommendations on Open and Closed Umwelten

An opinionated, partial review of: Köchy, Kristian and Francesca Michelini (eds.) (2019), Jakob von Uexküll and Philosophy: Life, Environments, Anthropology, New York: Routledge. Schnödl, Gottfried, and Florian Sprenger (2021), Uexküll’s Surroundings: Umwelt Theory and Right-Wing Thought, Lüneburg: meson press eG. Reading Uexküll in the 2020s The work of Jakob von Uexküll’s has seen a remarkable […]

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The Quest for Scientific Image of Mind

8 November 2022

The Quest for Scientific Image of Mind

The question of the place of mind in nature is one of the oldest and deepest questions in philosophy and the sciences. If the physical sciences to tell us ‘what nature is’, what happens to mental phenomena: thoughts, beliefs, desires, emotions, memories, and ideals? For centuries, philosophers, theologians, and scientists argued about what a “science […]

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Putting the organism back into biology

2 November 2022

Putting the organism back into biology

Biology studies organisms. This seems to be a truism. But is this assumption really correct? Some scientists and philosophers hold that it is not. Developmental biologist Brian Goodwin, for example, states:   “Organisms have disappeared as fundamental entities, as basic unities, from contemporary biology because they have no real status as centres of causal agency. […]

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Mapping Theories of Life into Cell Biochemistry

18 October 2022

Mapping Theories of Life into Cell Biochemistry

An Interview with Jannie Hofmeyr in Three Parts What is life? This is a question biologists have almost forgotten to ask. Apart from a few lonely souls who occupy themselves with astrobiology or the origin of life, we no longer seem to wonder about life itself. Maybe we have lost the forest for the trees? […]

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