- Paperback: 1157 pages
- Publisher: Univ Pr of Colorado (May 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0870813633
- ISBN-13: 978-0870813634
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 7.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,359,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Living Systems Paperback – May, 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
Here Miller lays out 19 processes which every living system needs to perform in order to compete and survive; eight processes for information, nine processes for matter and energy, and two processes for both. Miller also sees that there are billions and billions of different kinds of living systems in the world from microscopic cells to international organizations. So, he has categorized them into seven levels from the simplest and tiniest to the most complex and largest. And, he frequently makes interesting comparisons across these different levels.
Miller weaves volumes of information about the life sciences into his theory, particularly the biology of evolution. The concept of "emergence" appears to be its bedrock. New characteristics emerge as living systems become more complex, miraculously it would seem. In that sense, the book appears to be a detailed proof of Aristotle's famous conclusion that "the whole is more than the sum of its parts."
Many readers of this book have described it as a reference book, which it is. But, that description sells the book too short. Miller's prose is graceful and readable. I would say this book is enjoyable and well worth reading even if you have only enough time to read one chapter.
Two interesting companions to Living Systems would be Kevin Kelly's Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and Economic Order and also Ruppert Sheldrake's Morphic Resonance: The Habits of Nature. It might be said that Living Systems is a sequel to Alfred North Whitehead's famous book Process and Reality.
To see more of Miller's work and its implications, see the web site Principia Cybernetica.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A massive failed attempt at systems theory. The approach has many similarities with Parsons's failed attempt to classify all aspects of society. Read morePublished on August 8, 2011 by Jackal
Although reading such a long book in its entirety seems at first measure a daunting task (and one that few people's academic credentials hold up to.... Read morePublished on August 30, 2000 by JM Showalter