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Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False (by Thomas Nagel)

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False

~ Thomas Nagel (author) More about this product
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The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.

Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such.

Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.

In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.

 

 


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NIMBioS Investigative Workshop: Information and Entropy

NIMBioS Investigative Workshop: Information and Entropy | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

NIMBioS will host an Investigative Workshop on Information and Entropy

Topic: Information and entropy in biological systems

Meeting dates: April 8-10, 2015

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 

Organizers:

John Baez, Mathematics, Univ. of California, RiversideMarc Harper, Educational and biotechnology consultantJohn Harte, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Univ. of California, Berkeley
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Big Brains. Small Films. Benoît Mandelbrot, The Father of Fractals | IBM

IBM and http://IBMblr.Tumblr.com celebrate the life of Benoit B. Mandelbrot, IBM Fellow Emeritus and Fractal Pioneer. In this final interview shot by filmmaker Erol Morris, Mandelbrot shares his love for mathematics and how it led him to his wondrous discovery of fractals. His work lives on today in many innovations in science, design, telecommunications, medicine, renewable energy, film (special effects), gaming (computer graphics) and more.


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NetSci 2014

NetSci 2014 will take place on Jun 2-6, 2014 at the Clark Kerr Campus of Berkeley University in California.

http://netsci2014.cpt.univ-mrs.fr


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Fractal Dimension - File Exchange - MATLAB Central - MathWorks

Fractal Dimension - File Exchange - MATLAB Central - MathWorks | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
The fractal dimension (FD) image is generated by considering each pixel in the original CT image as a single fractal dimension estimated from its 7x7 neighbours. The FD generated image remarkably enhances the tissue ...
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Science in a Complex World: 30 years of complexity science in Santa Fe

Science in a Complex World: 30 years of complexity science in Santa Fe | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
It’s hard to believe it has been three decades since a group from LANL  devised a plan that would revolutionize science.
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PyCX 0.3 Now Available

PyCX 0.3 Now Available | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
The PyCX Project aims to develop an online repository of simple, crude, yet easy-to-understand Python sample codes for dynamic complex systems simulations, including iterative maps, cellular automata, dynamical networks and agent-based models.

Via Hiroki Sayama, Complexity Digest, Complexity Institute
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Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2014)

The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2014) will present the latest high-quality results in genetic and evolutionary computation. Topics include: genetic algorithms, genetic programming, evolution strategies, evolutionary programming, memetic algorithms, hyper heuristics, real-world applications, evolutionary machine learning, evolvable hardware, artificial life, adaptive behaviour, ant colony optimization, swarm intelligence, biological applications, evolutionary robotics, coevolution, artificial immune systems, and more.

 

July 12-16, 2014, Vancouver, BC, Canada   

http://www.sigevo.org/gecco-2014/


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Physics: Quantum quest

Physics: Quantum quest | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

If the truth be told, few physicists have ever really felt comfortable with quantum theory. Having lived with it now for more than a century, they have managed to forge a good working relationship; physicists now routinely use the mathematics of quantum behaviour to make stunningly accurate calculations about molecular structure, high-energy particle collisions, semiconductor behaviour, spectral emissions and much more.


But the interactions tend to be strictly formal. As soon as researchers try to get behind the mask and ask what the mathematics mean, they run straight into a seemingly impenetrable wall of paradoxes. Can something really be a particle and a wave at the same time? Is Schrödinger's cat really both alive and dead? Is it true that even the gentlest conceivable measurement can somehow have an effect on particles halfway across the Universe?

 

Physics: Quantum quest

Philip Ball

http://www.nature.com/news/physics-quantum-quest-1.13711


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Intelligent behavior as a response to entropy?

Intelligent behavior as a response to entropy? | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

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A Strange Computer Promises Great Speed

A Strange Computer Promises Great Speed | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
New York Times
A Strange Computer Promises Great Speed
New York Times
Ray Johnson, Lockheed's chief technical officer, said his company would use the quantum computer to create and test complex radar, space and aircraft systems.

Via Alejandro J. Alvarez S.
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Stephen Hawking's advice for twenty-first century grads: Embrace complexity - Scientific American (blog)

Stephen Hawking's advice for twenty-first century grads: Embrace complexity - Scientific American (blog) | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
Scientific American (blog)
Stephen Hawking's advice for twenty-first century grads: Embrace complexity
Scientific American (blog)
Hawking replied that in his opinion the twenty-first century would be the “century of complexity”.
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Causal Entropic Forces

Recent advances in fields ranging from cosmology to computer science have hinted at a possible deep connection between intelligence and entropy maximization, but no formal physical relationship between them has yet been established. Here, we explicitly propose a first step toward such a relationship in the form of a causal generalization of entropic forces that we find can cause two defining behaviors of the human “cognitive niche”—tool use and social cooperation—to spontaneously emerge in simple physical systems. Our results suggest a potentially general thermodynamic model of adaptive behavior as a nonequilibrium process in open systems.

 

Causal Entropic Forces

A. D. Wissner-Gross and C. E. Freer

Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 168702 (2013)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.168702


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Rabbit Tutorials | MORPHOCODE

Rabbit Tutorials | MORPHOCODE | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

RABBIT provides an easy way to explore natural phenomena such as pattern formation, self-organization, emergence, non-linearity. Rabbit helps architects and designers to analyze and integrate these models of organization in their own designs.


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The Strange New Science of Chaos - YouTube

A 1989 program, with Lorenz


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Vasileios Basios's curator insight, April 1, 9:43 AM

Wow! such a rare delightful material .... Ralph Abraham and Lorenz who could imagine!

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, April 16, 8:31 AM

to be watched by the new generations!  old certitudes and new doubts?

Liz Rykert's curator insight, April 19, 9:56 PM

Great to hear Lorenz

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TOMAEQ14

TOMAEQ14 | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

TOMAEQ14:

Topological Matter out of Equilibrium

Focus Workshop — 27 - 29 March 2014

Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems

Dresden, Germany

 

Much of the work on non-equilibrium statistical mechanics has relied on the notion of a local order parameter,  absent in topological phases. Conversely, studies of topological phenomena have focused on equilibrium and ground-state properties. The intersection of these fields remains largely uncharted territory.

This workshop brings together theorists from both groups, as well as experimentalists studying dynamical phenomena in a variety of systems, covering topics such as topological phenomena in driven systems, hydrodynamic descriptions of phases with emergent gauge fields,
ultrafast and inelastic spectral probes of quantum matter, the development of numerical methods, and finally potential experiments in the solid state and ultracold atomic gases.

http://www.pks.mpg.de/~tomaeq14/announce.html

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Pattern Formations and Oscillatory Phenomena - Unlimited Zone

Pattern Formations and Oscillatory Phenomena - Unlimited Zone | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
Shuichi Kinoshita, "Pattern Formations and Oscillatory Phenomena" English | ISBN: 0123970148 | 2013 | 280 pages | PDF | 31 MB Patterns and their formations appear throughout nature, and are studied to.
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New Complexity MOOC Started - iProgrammer

New Complexity MOOC Started - iProgrammer | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
New Complexity MOOC Started
iProgrammer
Introduction to Dynamical Systems and Chaos, the second course to be offered through the Santa Fe Institute's Complexity Explorer project started on January 6th and enrollment is still open.
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Exact Complexity: The Spectral Decomposition of Intrinsic Computation

We give exact formulae for a wide family of complexity measures that capture the organization of hidden nonlinear processes. The spectral decomposition of operator-valued functions leads to closed-form expressions involving the full eigenvalue spectrum of the mixed-state presentation of a process's epsilon-machine causal-state dynamic. Measures include correlation functions, power spectra, past-future mutual information, transient and synchronization informations, and many others. As a result, a direct and complete analysis of intrinsic computation is now available for the temporal organization of finitary hidden Markov models and nonlinear dynamical systems with generating partitions and for the spatial organization in one-dimensional systems, including spin systems, cellular automata, and complex materials via chaotic crystallography.

 

Exact Complexity: The Spectral Decomposition of Intrinsic Computation
James P. Crutchfield, Christopher J. Ellison, Paul M. Riechers

http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.3792


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Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013 Proceedings

Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013 Proceedings | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

ECAL 2013, the twelfth European Conference on Artificial Life, presents the current state of the art of a mature and autonomous discipline collocated at the intersection of a theoretical perspective (the scientific explanations of different levels of life organizations, e.g., molecules, compartments, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, societies, collective and social phenomena) and advanced technological applications (bio-inspired algorithms and techniques to building-up concrete solutions such as in robotics, data analysis, search engines, gaming).

 

Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2013

Proceedings of the Twelfth European Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems

Edited by Pietro Liò, Orazio Miglino, Giuseppe Nicosia, Stefano Nolfi and Mario Pavone

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/advances-artificial-life-ecal-2013


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luiy's curator insight, September 9, 2013 4:35 PM
About the Editors

 

Pietro Liò is Reader in Computational Biology at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Artificial Intelligence group of the University's Computer Laboratory. He researches on Predictive models in Personalized medicine and Multiscale modelling of molecules-cell-tissue-organ interactions.

 

 

Orazio Miglino is a full Professor of Psychology at University of Naples Federico II where he leads the Natural and Artificial Cognition Lab. He is also an associate researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of Italian National Research Council (ISTC-CNR) in Rome.

 

 

Giuseppe Nicosia is an Associate Professor in Computational Systems and Synthetic Biology in the Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Catania, Italy. His research activities focus on the design of biological systems, neuroinformatics, system design, design automation, optimization, solar cells, circuit and semiconductor design.

 

 

Stefano Nolfi is Research Director at the Italian National Research Council (CNR), director of the Laboratory of Autonomous Robots and Artificial Life of the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies. His research activities focus on the evolution and development of behavioural and cognitive skills in natural and artificial embodied agents (robots).

 

 

Mario Pavone is an Assistant Professor in computer science at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Catania. He is co-founder of TaoScience Research center, and he is also a member of the EURO association (The Association of European Operational Research Societies)

ComplexInsight's curator insight, October 1, 2013 3:51 PM

I have a big soft spot for artificial life research - partly because i was a young researcher  shortly after Chris Langton coined the term and a lot of my early hacking was around games of life, vants and cellular automata but also because over the years I have found many of the techniques discussed in ALIFE circles applicable to other fields such as machine learning, control architectures, and emergent simulation etc so this is definitely one for the reading list.

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Chaos Forgets and Remembers: Measuring Information Creation, Destruction, and Storage

The hallmark of deterministic chaos is that it creates information---the rate being given by the Kolmogorov-Sinai metric entropy. Since its introduction half a century ago, the metric entropy has been used as a unitary quantity to measure a system's intrinsic unpredictability. Here, we show that it naturally decomposes into two structurally meaningful components: A portion of the created information---the ephemeral information---is forgotten and a portion---the bound information---is remembered. The bound information is a new kind of intrinsic computation that differs fundamentally from information creation: it measures the rate of active information storage. We show that it can be directly and accurately calculated via symbolic dynamics, revealing a hitherto unknown richness in how dynamical systems compute.


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Between holism and reductionism: a philosophical primer on emergence

Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that focuses on the complexity of developmental systems, on the non-linearity of gene– environment interactions, and on multi-level selective processes to argue that the full story of biology is a bit more complicated than that. Reductionism can marshal on its behalf the spectacular successes of genetics and molecular biology throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Holism has built on the development of entirely new disciplines and conceptual frameworks over the past few decades, including evo-devo and phenotypic plasticity. Yet, a number of biologists are still actively looking for a way out of the reductionism–holism counterposition, often mentioning the word ‘emergence’ as a way to deal with the conundrum. This paper briefly examines the philosophical history of the concept of emergence, distinguishes between epistemic and ontological accounts of it, and comments on conceptions of emergence that can actually be useful for practising evolutionary biologists.

 

Between holism and reductionism: a philosophical primer on emergence
Massimo Pigliucci
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2013)

http://philpapers.org/rec/PIGBHA


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cerebster's curator insight, April 26, 2013 1:07 AM

It is important to understand emergence because it factors into discussions about control, knowledge, and free will, especially in neuroscience. It occupies a middle ground between prescribed rules and unpredictability. Now the task is to apply the concept productively to science.

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Stephen Hawking’s advice for twenty-first century grads: Embrace complexity

 A few years ago, Hawking was asked what he thought of the common opinion that the twentieth century was that of biology and the twenty-first century would be that of physics. Hawking replied that in his opinion the twenty-first century would be the “century of complexity”. That remark probably holds more useful advice for contemporary students than they realize since it points to at least two skills which are going to be essential for new college grads in the age of complexity: statistics and data visualization.


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Harshal Hayatnagarkar's curator insight, April 25, 2013 2:17 PM
Exactly, Sir !
Dmitry Alexeev's curator insight, April 29, 2013 7:15 AM

Complexity is us)

Murray McKercher's curator insight, April 30, 2013 7:39 AM

"century of complexity" sounds like we should therefore concentrate on simplicity in all things mobile...

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Chaos in Nature (by Christophe Letellier)

Chaos theory deals with the description of motion (in a general sense) which cannot be predicted in the long term although produced by deterministic system, as well exemplified by meteorological phenomena. It directly comes from the Lunar theory -- a three-body problem -- and the difficulty encountered by astronomers to accurately predict the long-term evolution of the Moon using "Newtonian" mechanics. Henri Poincare's deep intuitions were at the origin of chaos theory. They also led the meteorologist Edward Lorenz to draw the first chaotic attractor ever published. But the main idea consists of plotting a curve representative of the system evolution rather than finding an analytical solution as commonly done in classical mechanics. Such a novel approach allows the description of population interactions and the solar activity as well. Using the original sources, the book draws on the history of the concepts underlying chaos theory from the 17th century to the last decade, and by various examples, show how general is this theory in a wide range of applications: meteorology, chemistry, populations, astrophysics, biomedicine, etc.

 

 


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Scientists produce best image yet of atoms moving in real time

Scientists produce best image yet of atoms moving in real time | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it
Call it the ultimate nature documentary. Scientists have recorded atomic motions in real time, offering a glimpse into the very essence of chemistry and biology at the atomic level.

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ComplexInsight's curator insight, April 22, 2013 4:47 PM

Mapping molecular motions -- the "magic" of chemistry revealed. Despite the enormous number of possible arrangements of atoms during a structural transition, such as occurs with changes in charge distribution or chemical processes, the interconversion from one structure to another reduces to a few key types of motions. This enormous reduction in dimensionality is what makes chemical concepts transferable from one molecule to another and has enabled chemists to synthesize nearly any molecule desired, for new drugs to infusing new material properties. This is a still image from a movie that gives a direct atomic level view of this enormous reduction in complexity. The specific trajectories along three different coordinates, as highlighted in the movie, are shown as projections (right view) on a cube. The key atomic motions can be mapped on to three highly simplified coordinates -- the magic of chemistry in its full atomic splendor. (Credit: Lai Chung Liu, University of Toronto)

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Summer Solstice 2013: Discrete Models Of Complex Systems

Summer Solstice 2013: Discrete Models Of Complex Systems | Physics of Complex, Nonlinear, Non-equilibrium systems | Scoop.it

27th - 29th June 2013
Warszawa, Poland

 

Complex systems are pervasive in many fields of science and we encounter them everyday and everywhere in our life. Their examples include financial markets, highway transportation networks, telecommunication networks, human economies, social networks, immunological systems, living organisms, ant colonies, ect. The key feature of a complex system is that it is composed of large number of interconnected and interacting entities exhibiting much richer dynamical properties on global scale than they could be inferred from the properties and behaviors of its individual entities. Complex systems are studied in many areas of natural sciences, social sciences, engineering and mathematical sciences. An important part of these interdisciplinary studies forms discrete modeling. These models can be seen as the simplest laboratories to study phenomena exhibited by complex systems like self-organization processes, pattern formation, cooperation, adaptation, competition, attractors, or multi-scaling phenomena. The objective of this conference is to bring together researchers working on discrete modeling of complex systems and to provide a forum for exchange of ideas and presentation of results of their research. 


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