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"Organisms: Living Systems and Processes" workshop

The workshop is part of a series sponsored by the European Research Council, through the project “A Process Ontology for Contemporary Biology” led by John Dupré.

An Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences workshop
Date9 - 10 March 2017
Time9:00 to 17:00
PlaceByrne House

Organisms are living systems. What does this mean? One answer given by systems biology is that organisms are self-organising dynamical systems that demarcate themselves from their environment by interacting with this environment on different levels. Non-reductionist top-down approaches in systems biology stress that organisms, as living systems, exhibit biological autonomy; they are integrated entities able to maintain themselves by actively adapting, whether by bodily reorganisation or by performing bodily movements, to changes in the environment rather than being the passive victims of such changes.

An interesting implication of this answer is that the autonomous organism is constitutively dependent on the process of its development and maintenance. Far from simply being given, the synchronic and diachronic identity of organisms is a hard-won achievement, constantly to be generated and defended against perturbations. Hence, some philosophers of biology, taking seriously the systems biological view of organisms, have called for replacing traditional substance ontological presumptions with a new process ontological framework so as to metaphysically support the insight into the processual nature of organisms. Organisms, as living systems, so they argue, are complex systems of organised and stabilised biological processes.

The conference aims to explore the relation between the systems biological and the process ontological view of organisms as living systems by bringing together experts from systems biology, the philosophy of biology and metaphysics.

ProviderEgenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences
Registration informationThis workshop is now fully booked. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list in case of any cancellations, email Chee Wong egenis@exeter.ac.uk
MEINCKEDUPR___SystemsProcesses_PROGRAMME__003_.pdfProgramme (363K)

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