Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2012, San Jose, CA, USA, 56th Annual Proceedings of ISSS

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THE ROLE OF SYNERGY IN THE EVOLUTION OF LIVING SYSTEMS

Peter Andrew Corning

Abstract




Living Systems Theory (LST), as well as
System of Systems Processes Theory (SSP), Relational Biology and other theory
and research in the systems sciences and complexity science have illuminated
many aspects of how living systems work – their mechanisms, processes and
relationships.  The Synergism Hypothesis,
originally proposed in 1983, addresses the evolution of “cooperation” in nature
and why there has been a secular trend over time toward increased complexity in
living systems.  The theory highlights
the role of functional synergy – adaptively significant combined effects that
are interdependent and otherwise unattainable – in shaping the “progressive” emergence
of complex living systems, an approach that is entirely consistent with modern
evolutionary biology and natural selection theory.  It is thus radically opposed to various
orthogenetic/deterministic theories of complexity that have been proposed over
the years.  This theory has recently
gained scientific support, and there is growing appreciation for the role of
various kinds of synergy as an influence in the evolutionary process.




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