Emergent Properties and Stability in Hierarchical Biosystems: There Is no Privileged Level of Causation

  • Gustavo M. SouzaEmail author
  • Marcelo N. do Amaral


The main question herein is about the extent that reductionist approach can reach higher-level explanation as well as predict behavior from lower level of systems organization when concerning stability. Starting from a theoretical discussion on the complex hierarchical organization of biological systems, we offer a variety of examples showing the interchanging between bottom-up and top-down events underlying the regulation of the system. Moreover, we discuss and illustrate with different examples, how system stability under externally changing conditions are reached from many strategies without a specific level of causation, highlighting the role of downward causation with upward causation. Finally, we would like to demonstrate that there should be no dogmas when it comes to causation in biological systems.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyInstitute of Biology, Federal University of PelotasPelotasBrazil

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