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Wednesday, August 5 • 14:30 - 15:00
Complex Systems Biology and Hegel's Philosophy

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In this study I will argue that Hegel’s philosophy has similarity to the self-organization theories of Prigogine and Kauffman and complex systems biology of Kaneko, and is therefore an idea in advance of its times.

In The Philosophy of Nature, Hegel’s interest is in how nature evolves through the mechanism of self-organization. He was writing before Darwin proposed the theory of evolution, and his dialectic is aimed at analyzing and describing development in the logical sense. The important feature of this work is their analysis of the fundamental structures by which order is generated.

Hegel struggled to produce the concept of life from that of matter. He proposed that matter should develop into organism, but only in a logical sense. Nature itself is a system of producing spontaneous order through the random motion of the contingent.

Then Hegel tackles living things. He would like to say that the basis of life is the non-equilibrium self-referential structure. In more modern terminology, we could interpret this as meaning that the first organism emerged from interaction between high polymers. Living creatures exhibit flexibility and plasticity through fluctuations in these elements. Complex systems biology uses a dynamical systems approach to explain how living things acquire diversity, stability and spontaneity.

First, simple single-celled organisms arose through interactions between proteins and nucleic acids. These are the archae-bacteria in modern terminology. Next, the development of eukaryote cells from the prokaryotes is explained by symbiogenesis or endosymbiotic theory.

Then, multicellular organisms appeared. These were networks of cells or systems of selves. They reproduce sexually and necessarily die. The process of individualization is complete. This is just a return to universality. The dynamism between universality and individuality is self-referential. Universality (the first simple prokaryote) becomes individuality (the complex animal), and it then returns to universality (human beings with spirit). Here, it is important to observe that spirit emerges from nature. Nature has the purpose of producing organism from matter and then spirit from organism. It is teleology without theology depending only on contingent and complex systems biology.

Keywords: Hegel, natural philosophy, complex systems biology, the theory of evolution

Presenter / Artist

Prof. Kazuyuki Ikko Takahashi

Professor, Meiji University
ISSS Regular

Wednesday August 5, 2015 14:30 - 15:00
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

Attendees (5)