• Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Biology
  • Theoretical Biology
  • Epistemology and Theory of Complex Systems
  • Emergence
  • Origins of Life
  • Cybernetics




  • Project Title: Biological Regulation: Investigating the Theoretical and Philosophical Foundations of Autonomy and Cognition (FONDECYT Regular n. 1150052)
  • Role: Principal Investigator
  • Institution: Biology of Cognition Lab, Faculty of Sciences, Universidad de Chile
  • Funding body: FONDECYT (National Foundation for Scientific and Technological Development, Chile)
  • Project Abstract: The project, at the crossroads between Philosophy, Theoretical Biology and Cognitive Sciences, aims at addressing foundational issues related to biological individuation: in particular, the capability of living systems to actively compensate for perturbations, and the role it can play in the understanding of the relation between life and cognition.This issue has many philosophical implications concerning individuality, emergence, causation and function, and it addresses some core issues in theoretical biology and cognitive science. Furthermore, it has also a more general relevance for the study of all those classes of systems in which self-generated mechanisms of control and regulation play an important role: one case is social sciences, another is ecology, where a thriving debate is taking place on ecosystems self-regulation and the role of human intervention in controlling ecological systems.The project is grounded in the theoretical perspective based on the notion of autonomy, as applied to biology and cognitive sciences. According to this thriving framework, biological systems realize a distinctive kind of internal organization, intrinsically self-referential and self-maintaining, in which not only the very existence and activity of constituents depend on the network of processes of transformation that they realise but, in addition, they collectively promote the conditions of their own existence through their interaction with the environment. In such a perspective regulatory mechanisms, by modulating internal processes in relation to environmental changes, constitute a crucial factor in characterizing living systems from their most basic instances.The main goals of this project are the following: (1) to develop an analysis of the notion of biological regulation aimed at elaborating models and criteria for the classification of different forms of compensatory behaviours in living systems (2) to investigate the philosophical implications of the notion of biological regulation proposed; (3) to explore the possible contribution of such notion to the debate on functional integration and individuation in multicellular systems; and (4) to use the theoretical model of regulation to naturalize the emergence of meaning in the interaction between a basic living system and its environment, thus contributing to the characterization of minimal cognition.
  • Project Title: Autonomy and Complexity in Basic Living Systems
  • Position: Juan de la Cierva Fellowship (MICINN-Spain)
  • Institution: IAS-Research Center for Life, Mind, and Society/Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science – University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV)
  • Funding Body: Ministry for Science and Innovation (Spain)
  • "To say that a system is complex […] is to say that we can describe the same system in a variety of distinct ways […]. Therefore a system is simple to the extent that a single description suffices to account for our interaction with the system; it is complex to the extent that it fails to be true." (Robert Rosen, 1978)
  • “Complexity is not an intrinsic property of a system nor of a system description. Rather, it arises from the number of ways in which we are able to interact with the system. Thus, complexity is a function not only of the system’s interactive capabilities, but of our own”
    (Robert Rosen, 1985)

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