Organisms, Machines, and Thunderstorms: A History of Self-Organization, Part Two. Complexity, Emergence, and Stable Attractors
Author(s)Keller, Evelyn F
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Part Two of this essay focuses on what might be called the third and most recent chapter in the history of self-organization, in which the term has been claimed to denote a paradigm shift or revolution in scientific thinking about complex systems. The developments responsible for this claim began in the late 1960s and came directly out of the physical sciences. They rapidly attracted wide interest and led to yet another redrawing of the boundaries between organisms, machines, and naturally occurring physical systems (such as thunderstorms). In this version of self-organization, organisms are once again set apart from machines precisely because the latter depend on an outside designer, but—in contrast to Kant's ontology—they are now assimilated to patterns in the inorganic world on the grounds that they, too, like many biological phenomena, arise spontaneously.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
University of California Press
Keller, Evelyn Fox. “Organisms, Machines, and Thunderstorms: A History of Self-Organization, Part Two. Complexity, Emergence, and Stable Attractors.” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 39.1 (2009): 1-31.
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