Meaning is a concept usually associated with the work of philosophers and linguists. In this book, the author presents the idea that meaning making is a constituting principle of all living systems. Meaning-making involves the process by which a system responds to an indeterminate signal and makes sense out of its environment.
This book focuses on meaning-making in living systems from an interdisciplinary perspective and points at the importance of meaning making for understanding the behavior of living systems from the immune system, through dogs play behavior to human conversation. Drawing on a novel theory of meaning-making in living systems, the author suggests three basic organizing concepts for studying meaning-making. Those concepts may shed new light on biological processes as complex as cognitive processes and present a radical alternative to the information-processing, mechanical and reductionist approaches that govern biological research.
Neuman's approach is an ingenious way to introduce an issue. "A compilation of highly interesting topic that will undoubtedly transform the way readers think about organisms". Angewandte Chemie International 2009. "This enthusiastically written and thought-provoking book . challenges dogmas of received wisdom such as reductionism, both mechanical and genetic. Neuman's observations about the fallacy of sacrificing real-world properties in the interest of formal tractability are of great importance to systems thinkers, analysts, and modelers in various application areas, who wish to avoid serious failures in their work". Computing Reviews 2009 (an ACM Review Journal) "Neuman presents a fascinating analysis of biological interactions that aims to transcend the sort of billiard-ball model of causation that seems to be presupposed by the reductionists who are his target. Neuman has put the issues into what seems to be a more appropriate context, and that is a splendid accomplishment". Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 2009.
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