Encyclopedia of Systems Biology

2013 Edition
| Editors: Werner Dubitzky, Olaf Wolkenhauer, Kwang-Hyun Cho, Hiroki Yokota


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9863-7_77


The organization of an entity refers to the arrangement of its component parts and their operations (or functions), and to how it results in the capacities of the whole or the phenomena of interest. Often, organized entities are complex and hierarchical: their parts are themselves organized entities.


A large part of the biological tradition maintains that the main characteristic of living beings is their organization, as the very term “organism” denotes. Even so, it is not evident that this concept pertains to the theoretical vocabulary of mainstream contemporary biology (i.e., the theory of evolution of the Modern Synthesis and Molecular Biology) or to the philosophy of biology inspired by it. Yet, although the notion of organization, as well as that of organism, may have been neglected by those, its elucidation has remained an important goal for other approaches operating in the life sciences of the twentieth century, such as Systems Theory, Cybernetics or...

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This research was funded by the Basque Government grant (IT 505-10) and by the MICINN (FFI2008-06348-C02-01/FISO & FFI2008-24106348-C02).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, IAS-Research Center for Life, Mind, and SocietyUniversity of the Basque Country, UPV/EHUDonostia - San SebastiánSpain
  2. 2.IAS-Research Philosophy of Biology Group, Department of Logic and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)Donostia – San SebastianSpain