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24 Aug 2010
Even More than Life Itself: Beyond Complexity
 Donald C. Mikulecky
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This essay is an attempt to construct an artificial dialog loosely modeled after that sought by Robert Maynard Hutchins who was a significant influence on many of us including and especially Robert Rosen. The dialog is needed to counter the deep and devastating effects of Cartesian reductionism on today’s world. The success of such a dialog is made more probable thanks to the recent book by A. Louie. This book makes a rigorous basis for a new paradigm, the one pioneered by the late Robert Rosen. If we are to make such a paradigm shift happen, it has to be in the spirit of the dialog. The relationship between science, economics, technology and politics has to be openly recognized and dealt with. The message that Rosen sent to us has to be told outside small select circles of devotees. The situation has even been described by some as resembling a cult. This is no way for universal truths like these to be seen. The essay examines why this present situation has happened and identifies the systemic nature of the problem in terms of Rosen’s concepts about systems. The dialog involves works by George Lakoff, W. Brian Arthur, N. Katherine Hayles, Robert Reich and Dorion Sagan. These scholars each have their own approach to identifying the nature of the interacting systems that involve human activity and the importance of identifying levels of abstraction in analyzing systems. Pooling their insights into different facets of a complex system is very useful in constructing a model of the self referential system that humans and their technology have shaped. The role of the human component in the whole earth system is the goal of the analysis. The impact of the Cartesian reductionist paradigm on science and the related aspects of human activity are examined to establish an explanation for the isolation of Rosen’s paradigm. The possible way to proceed is examined in the conclusion.
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 Title
 Even More than Life Itself: Beyond Complexity
 Journal

Axiomathes
Volume 21, Issue 3 , pp 455471
 Cover Date
 20110901
 DOI
 10.1007/s1051601091197
 Print ISSN
 11221151
 Online ISSN
 15728390
 Publisher
 Springer Netherlands
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 Complexity
 Category theory
 Biology
 Epistemology
 Ontology
 Robert Rosen
 A. Louie
 Earth system
 Organism
 Machine
 Brian Arthur
 Technology
 Causation
 Closed loops
 N. Katherine Hales
 Dorion Sagan
 Robert Reich
 Robert Maynard Hutchins
 Anticipatory system
 Network thermodynamics
 Authors

 Donald C. Mikulecky ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Center for the Study of Biological Complexity, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA