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Not in my body, thank you

Philip Kitcher: Kauffman’s ‘Investigations’, 1 November 2001

by Stuart Kauffman.
Oxford, 287 pp., £18.99, March 2001, 9780195121049
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... merely a quaint work of prophesy, dwarfed by the vastly successful science it helped to inspire? Stuart Kauffman believes that it’s time to return to Schrödinger’s hopes and the questions he asked. His title echoes Wittgenstein, with whose Philosophical Investigations he sometimes labours to link his project, but the deeper connection is with the ...

Turtles All the Way Down

Walter Gratzer, 4 September 1997

The End of Science 
by John Horgan.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £18.99, May 1997, 0 316 64052 2
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... centres as the Santa Fe Institute, set up to promote the study of these fringe disciplines. When Stuart Kauffman of the Institute announces that he has computer models to prove life must emerge from any sufficiently complex chemical milieu and that such generation of order accounts for (among other things) Evolution, the evolutionary biologist John ...

Genetic Mountaineering

Adrian Woolfson: The evolution of evolvability, 6 February 2003

A New Kind of Science 
by Stephen Wolfram.
Wolfram Media, 1197 pp., £40, May 2002, 1 57955 008 8
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... natural selection, the programmed order of genes and the non-programmed ‘order for free’, as Stuart Kauffman has called it, generated within certain types of complex system. Historical contingency, too, has a role in the new synthesis. Simon Conway Morris has argued that if the Earth hadn’t been hit by the meteorite that probably made the ...

So much for genes

Adrian Woolfson: The Century of the Gene by Evelyn Fox Keller, 8 March 2001

The Century of the Gene 
by Evelyn Fox Keller.
Harvard, 186 pp., £15.95, October 2000, 0 674 00372 1
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... the exciting theoretical work of complexity theorists such as Christopher Langton, Don Farmer and Stuart Kauffman was not incorporated into Keller’s synthesis. It’s clear that genes have a very real physical and chemical existence, and that the ‘gene kit’ and associated DNA regulatory components of a given species constitute a basic starting ...

How did the slime mould cross the maze?

Adrian Woolfson: The Future of Emergence, 21 March 2002

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software 
by Steven Johnson.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 0 7139 9400 2
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The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture 
by Mark Taylor.
Chicago, 340 pp., £20.50, January 2002, 0 226 79117 3
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... How can patterns, whether biological, social or cultural, be generated without programs? Stuart Kauffman, among others, has attempted to simulate the emergent behaviour of abstract networks by using computers, for which purposes it is irrelevant whether the interconnected components are ants, people, communities, molecules or competing ...

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