Publication 5230

Bich L. & Mossio M. (2011) On the role of constraints in the emergence of biological organization. Logic and Philosophy of Science 9(1): 381–388.
In this paper we provide some theoretical guidelines for the characterization of the specificity of biological systems in terms of organization and constraints. In the first place we advocate the view according to which a sound account of biological organization requires an appeal to emergent causation, and we propose a theoreti-cal justification of emergence against existing criticisms by consid-ering it as a causal power stemming from the relational properties of material configurations. Then, by interpreting constraints as a spe-cific form of this emergent causal power, we propose a distinction between the roles played by constraints in physical and biological systems. As a result we provide a possible definition of biological organization as a closed network of co-dependent and internally produced constraints.
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