2003-06-01 - 2003-07-31 | Research area: Philosophy of Biology
The aim of this project is to introduce and outline a perspective on biology as emergent from primitive physical and chemical processes. The perspective is to examine the constraints and organization of the space of possible emergent modularities, autonomies, dynamics, and historicities, especially with resulting entrenchments (Bickhard, 2002; Christensen & Bickhard, 2002; Christensen & Hooker, 1998, 2000; Smith & Szathmary, 1995; Wimsatt, 1999).
Biology is massively historistic, so its study must be correspondingly historical. But the contingent histories in the self-organization of the biosphere are not completely free. They explore a space of possibilities that has its own structures and constraints.
I have proposed, for example, that knowledge and representation (Bickhard, 1993, 2002, in press-a, in press-c) must precede learning in macro-evolution, learning must precede emotions, and emotions must precede reflexive consciousness (Bickhard, 1973/1980; Bickhard & Campbell, in press). These emergent forms of process, in turn, constitute the basic genetic heritage of human beings, out of which sociality and language emerge in human groups, and full social persons emerge in development in those groups (Bickhard, 1973/1980, in press-b).
Such perspectives on macro-constraints on the self-organization of the biosphere, however, are not limited to later phases of evolution. In this project, I extend the perspectives to constraints of relevance to early biosphere self-organization, such as the emergence of cells, reproduction, natural selection and evolution (Ruiz-Mirazo, Pereto, & Moreno, in press), DNA as a specialized resource for modulation of metabolism and reproduction (Keller, 2000), function and representation (Bickhard, 1993, 2002, in press-a, in press-c; Christensen & Bickhard, 2002), reproductive modularizations and historicities - species, energy and material flow modularizations and historicities - ecosystems, inter- and intra-cellular dynamics with their modularizations and historicities - multicellular organisms (Moreno & Lasa, in preparation; Moreno & Ruiz-Mirazo, 1999; Ruiz, Etxeberria, Moreno, & Ibañez, 2000), and inter- and intra-organism dynamics with their modularizations and historicities - cultures and societies (Bickhard & Campbell, in press).