One of the essential characteristics of living beings is the explosion of variety in their forms that is intrinsically linked to the diversity of the environments they have adapted to.
This book, the result of collaboration between international specialists, analyzes the multiplicity of these morphologies. It explores the origin of forms, their role in defining living things, and the relationship between form and function. It exposes the role of genes and epigenetics and examines the forms of bacteria, protists and plants. The Explosion of Life Forms also studies the memory of animals and their sensory processes, the forms of robots (built in the image of living things), and medical technologies aimed at restoring damaged living forms. Finally, this work questions a common principle of construction in the diversity of forms, as well as the idea of an abandonment of the form, a possible hidden defect of some modern philosophies.
Introduction xi / Georges CHAPOUTHIER and Marie-Christine MAUREL
Chapter 1. Possible Traces and Clues of Early Life Forms 1 / Marie-Christine MAUREL
Chapter 2. The Nature of Life 19 / Andreas LOSCH
Chapter 3. From Form to Function 29 / Jean-Pierre GASC
Chapter 4. On Growth and Form: Context and Purpose 51 / Jean-Pierre GASC
Chapter 5. The Emergence of Form in the History of Epigenetics 65 / Jonathan B. WEITZMAN
Chapter 6. The Many Shapes of Microbial Detection of Kin and Kind 79 / Guillermo PAZ-Y-MIÑO-C and Avelina ESPINOSA
Chapter 7. Development and Evolution of Plant Forms 101 / Florian JABBOUR and Guilhem MANSION
Chapter 8. Forms of Memory 125 / Robert JAFFARD
Chapter 9. The Construction of Sensory Universes 155 / Dalila BOVET
Chapter 10. Emotional and Social Forms of Robots 173 / Laurence DEVILLERS
Chapter 11. When Medical Technology Mimics Living Forms 183 / Didier FASS
Chapter 12. From Living to Thinking: Mosaic Architecture 203 / Georges CHAPOUTHIER
Chapter 13. Converging Technologies or Paradoxes of Power 221 / Jean-Michel BESNIER
List of Authors 233
Georges Chapouthier is a biologist, philosopher and Emeritus Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France. His research interests focus on animals and the brain.
Marie-Christine Maurel is a Professor at Sorbonne University and a researcher at the Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History in France. Her research interests focus on the origins of life, RNA, viroids and molecular archaeobiology.