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This book is required reading for any reader of Robert Rosen's Life Itself or, indeed, anyone interested the question "what is life?" (i.e., "what distinguishes a living system from a non-living one?"). Rosen's Life Itself was a mostly expository summation of his decades of work with relational biology on this question, with just enough of the mathematics to carry the reader along through the journey . While this form of presentation helped to explain his profound work and its ramifications, as well as appeal to a wider audience, the reader was sometimes left with questions about the finer details and the strength of the mathematical foundations, unless they had the desire to research Rosen's published papers, going back as far as the 1950's.
As a mathematical biologist and an actual student of Rosen's (he refers to Nicolas Rashevsky and Robert Rosen as his "academic grandfather and father", respectively), Louie provides in More Than Life Itself a thoroughly rigourous and self-contained treatment of the pivotal question. With his mathematical prowess and deep comprehension of relational biology, Louie provides the reader with the mathematical tools - via a succinct course in ordered sets, lattice theory, category theory, modelling, traversability, and algebraic topology - necessary to carry forth with rigor the discussions of simple and complex systems, analytic and synthetic models, simulability, impredicativity and more. All of which underlies the chapter on anticipatory systems, and finally culminates in the answering of the question "what is life?"
After tackling the epistemological form of the question "what is life?Read more ›
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