Reductionist perspectives and the notion of information

In Reductionist_perspectives_and_the_notion.pdf (501.7 KB) Nicolas Perret and Giuseppe Longo argue that “the introduction of information theory into biology did not liberate biology from reductionism [and] that the adoption of information in biology is an erroneous transposition from a specific mathematical domain to one where it does not belong.”

Abstract

Reductionism is the dominant stance of biology. According to this perspective, biological phenomena have to fit withphysical explanations. Some biologists thought that the introduction of the idea of program was a sound way to overcome both physicalism and reductionism. We argue instead that the introduction of information theory into biology did not liberate biology from reductionism. We argue that the adoption of information in biology is an erroneous transposition from a specific mathematical domain to one where it does not belong. Indeed, the mathematical framework of the information theory is too rigid and discrete to fit with biological phenomena. Therefore, information in biology represents an inappropriate metaphor. Then, we make explicit the use of metaphors and the choice of explanation mode. We argue that the choice of explanation is not neutral. Furthermore, the use of metaphors in science becomes dangerous when they take the place of theories and they lose their paradoxical content.

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WoW Huge thanks! Big and accurate finding. I need time to to reread and assimilate this publication.

And this very timely :wink:

Two nights ago, I have a dream. Seriously, I dreamed. My memories of this one are very hazy. But I remember the main purpose. What if I asked the petites singularités to be, in one way or another, “partners/involved/whatever” in the mutinous biology (non)PhD of the Breton Biohackerspace?

Critical pedagogy, grassroots stuff, knowledge sharing and hospitality first (no competition, zero graduation) hacking & pirates, so and so forth…

Well, I am just here now. Falling out of the bed and reading what you shared (and trying to solve some transformation-competent artificial chromosome (TAC) in progress on arabidopsis − to be honest)

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I met Giuseppe in september and then again a few months ago, when he hosted me in Paris. He’s a really nice guy and a brilliant researcher. The Cardano group which he founded with our friend Alessandro Sarti (mathematician) and a few others is worth checking out.

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Dans mon insomnie de cette nuit, j’ai regardé la redif d’un séminaire, qui fait pour moi, écho à cette citation, surtout l’intervention Alice Mortiaux (artiste et philosophe) sur le danger de la réification, ou de l’objectivation, des abstractions, (tel que la théorie de l’information ou le réductionnisme pour penser le vivant par exemple). Et le meilleur, c’est que pour elle, (en résumé), la narration (le récit, ou la fabulation peut importe) est un bon moyen pour contrer les dérives de ces objectivations !
L0V3

Merci beaucoup pour cette référence, @lula, que je ne connaissais pas. J’ai découvert le travail de Giuseppe Longo à travers sa collaboration avec le psychiatre Miguel Benasayag. J’apprécie énormément ses interventions anti-scientistes dans toutes les disciplines de la science.

il en parle bien volontiers ! et de son amitié avec Evelyn Fox Keller aussi :slight_smile:
je suis sûre qu’il serait très content de vous rencontrer pour discuter avec vous.
hésitez pas à me demander son contact si vous passez par Paris

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