Hi Robert,

I haven’t read your book yet, but thanks for the link.  You have certainly 
thought through these issues much more deeply than I have and I appreciate your 
perspective.  I am trying to parse the meanings of your three fundamentals, so 
please let me know if I am getting the main ideas right.  

“Aleatoricism” seems to reflect the creativity associated with dynamics at ‘the 
edge of chaos’, or inherent to self-organization.  I would strongly agree with 
this as an essential fundamental that was not explicit in my formulation.  I 
would argue that aleatoricism and feedback are implicit in the notion of 
metabolism, but I like that you pull them out.

I’m not sure what you are suggesting with the term “centripetality’.  Is this 
meant to reference the functional and dynamical coherence of self-organizing 



> On Mar 29, 2016, at 3:39 PM, Robert E. Ulanowicz <u...@umces.edu> wrote:
> Dear Guy,
> Please allow me to respond to your invitation to Terry with my two cents.
> My triad for supporting the dynamics of life is a bit different. I see the
> three essential fundamentals as:
> 1. Aleatoricism
> 2. Feedback
> 3. Memory
> Just to briefly elaborate on each:
> 1. I use aleatoricism to avoid the baggage associated with the term
> "chance", which most immediately associate with "blind" chance. The
> aleatoric spans the spectrum from unique events to blind chance to
> conditional chance to propensities to just short of determinism.
> 2. More specifically (and in parallel with autopoesis) I focus on
> autocatalytic feedback, which exhibits the property of "centripetality".
> Centripetality appears on almost no one's list of properties of life,
> despite its ubiquity in association with living systems.
> 3. Memory (and information) likely inhered in stable configurations of
> processes (metabolism) well before the advent of molecular encoding. Terry
> speaks to this point in Biological Theory 1(2):136-49.
> My fundamentals do not include reproduction, because I see reproduction as
> corollary to 2 & 3.
> I propose a full metaphysics for life predicated on these three
> assumptions.
> <http://people.clas.ufl.edu/ulan/publications/philosophy/3rdwindow/>
> Looking forward to what others see as fundamental.
> Peace,
> Bob
>> I personally consider metabolism to be at the core of what constitutes
>> â?~lifeâ?T, so the notion of autopoeisis is very attractive to me.  It is
>> also possible that the richness of life as we know it depends on having
>> metabolisms (activity), genomes (memory), and reproduction combined.  The
>> reductionistic approach to singling out one of these three pillars of life
>> as its essence may be futile.  However, I want to point out that the most
>> reduced version of â?~lifeâ?T I have seen was proposed by Terry Deacon in
>> the concept he calls â?oautocellsâ?.  Terry has made great contributions
>> to FIS dealing with related topics, and I hope he will chime in here to
>> describe his minimalist form of life, which is not cellular, does not have
>> any metabolism or genetically encoded memory.  Autocells do, however,
>> reproduce.
>> Regards,
>> Guy

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