Science & Education

, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 1223–1228 | Cite as

George Terzis and Robert Arp (eds): Information and Living Systems: Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives

MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-262-20174-2, xliii and 414 pp, price: $50.00
  • Stefan Artmann
Book Review

Among all sciences, biology arguably excites today’s philosophers most. Research into objects characterized by a highly complex structure, a functional organization, and an evolutionary genesis necessarily brings fundamental issues of a philosophical kind forward. What, for example, can we say about the epistemological status of concepts, such as system, information, and self-organization, that are of greatest importance to the analysis of organisms? Those concepts, and also their biological use, are not new to scientists, engineers, and philosophers, who discuss about them since many decades. However, the meta-problem that a shared understanding of what, for example, self-organization should mean in biology could not have been reached so far, is becoming more and more serious.

The concept of information may be, of all concepts mentioned above, the most problematic one. It is used from molecular genetics (e.g., hereditary information encoded in the DNA) and developmental biology (e.g.,...


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  3. Schrödinger, E. (1944). What is life? Cambridge/England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frege Centre for Structural SciencesFriedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany

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