The Dynamical Emergence of Biology From Physics: Branching Causation via Biomolecules
Ellis (George F.R.) & Kopel (Jonathan)
Source: Frontiers in Physiology, 25 January 2019
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsBooks / Papers Citing this PaperColour-ConventionsDisclaimer

Authors’ Abstract

  1. Biology differs fundamentally from the physics that underlies it. This paper proposes that the essential difference is that while physics at its fundamental level is Hamiltonian, in biology, once life has come into existence, causation of a contextual branching nature occurs at every level of the hierarchy of emergence at each time.
  2. The key feature allowing this to happen is the way biomolecules such as voltage-gated ion channels can act to enable branching logic to arise from the underlying physics, despite that physics per se being of a deterministic nature.
  3. Much randomness occurs at the molecular level, which enables higher level functions to select lower level outcomes according to higher level needs. Intelligent causation occurs when organisms engage in deduction, enabling prediction and planning. This is possible because ion channels enable action potentials to propagate in axons.
  4. The further key feature is that such branching biological behavior acts down to cause the underlying physical interactions to also exhibit a contextual branching behavior.


For the full text, see Ellis & Kopel - The Dynamical Emergence of Biology From Physics: Branching Causation via Biomolecules.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - June 2020. Please address any comments on this page to File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page