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Howard Pattee is a physicist who for many years has taken his own path in studying the physics of symbols, which is now a foundation for biosemiotics. By extending von Neumanna€™s logical requirements for self-replication, to the physical requirements of symbolic instruction at the molecular level, he concludes that a form of quantum measurement is necessary for life. He explains why all non-dynamic symbolic and informational controls act as special (allosteric) constraints on dynamical systems. Pattee also points out that symbols do not exist in isolation but in coordinated symbol systems we call languages. Such insights turn out to be necessary to situate biosemiotics as an objective scientific endeavor. By proposing a way to relate quiescent symbolic constraints to dynamics, Patteea€™s work builds a bridge between physical, biological, and psychological models that are based on dynamical systems theory. Patteea€™s work awakes new interest in cognitive scientists, where his recognition of the necessary separationa€”the epistemic cuta€”between the subject and object provides a basis for a complementary third way of relating the purely symbolic, computational models of cognition and the purely dynamic, non-representational models. This selection of Patteea€™s papers also addresses several other fields, including hierarchy theory, artificial life, self-organization, complexity theory, and the complementary epistemologies of the physical and biological sciences.The perspective of modern biology is entirely structure-orienteda€”so much so, in fact, that the essential symbolic aspects of life are often missed. ... and their tests and transfer commandsa€”there is no doubt that each symbol and operation exists in the cell as a specific molecule or structure. ... In living organisms it is no exaggeration to say that the genetic code establishes the most fundamental interactionanbsp;...

Author:Howard Hunt Pattee, Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi
Publisher:Springer Science & Business Media - 2012-12-09


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