PhilSci Archive

Robustness and autonomy in biological systems: how regulatory mechanisms enable functional integration, complexity and minimal cognition through the action of second-order control constraints

Bich, Leonardo (2018) Robustness and autonomy in biological systems: how regulatory mechanisms enable functional integration, complexity and minimal cognition through the action of second-order control constraints. Biological Robustness. Emerging Perspectives from within the Life Sciences. pp. 123-147.

[img]
Preview
Text
Bich (2018) Robustness and Autonomy in Biological Systems.pdf

Download (348kB) | Preview

Abstract

Living systems employ several mechanisms and behaviors to achieve robustness and maintain themselves under changing internal and external conditions. Regulation stands out from them as a specific form of higher-order control, exerted over the basic regime responsible for the production and maintenance of the organism, and provides the system with the capacity to act on its own constitutive dynamics. It consists in the capability to selectively shift between different available regimes of self-production and self-maintenance in response to specific signals and perturbations, due to the action of a dedicated subsystem which is operationally distinct from the regulated ones. The role of regulation, however, is not exhausted by its contribution to maintain a living system’s viability. While enhancing robustness, regulatory mechanisms play a fundamental role in the realization of an autonomous biological organization. Specifically, they are at the basis of the remarkable integration of biological systems, insofar as they coordinate and modulate the activity of distinct functional subsystems. Moreover, by implementing complex and hierarchically organized control architectures, they allow for an increase in structural and organizational complexity while minimizing fragility. Finally, they endow living systems, from their most basic unicellular instances, with the capability to control their own internal dynamics to adaptively respond to specific features of their interaction with the environment, thus providing the basis for the emergence of minimal forms of cognition.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bich, Leonardoleonardo.bich@ehu.es0000-0002-2416-112X
Keywords: Regulation; Control; Functional integration; Organization; Autonomy; Cognition.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Leonardo Bich
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2019 14:38
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2019 14:38
Item ID: 15579
Journal or Publication Title: Biological Robustness. Emerging Perspectives from within the Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-01198-7_6
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 2018
Page Range: pp. 123-147
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15579

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Altmetric.com

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item