[MaFLa] Karl Edlinger eloadasa az ELTE-n

Ropolyi Laszlo ropolyi at caesar.elte.hu
Tue Dec 6 01:22:53 CET 2011


Kedves Kollégák!

Az ELTE Tudománytörténet és Tudományfilozófia Tanszékén előadást tart

Karl Edlinger
Museum of Natural History, Vienna, Austria
karlfranz.edlinger at gmail.com

What is life - the need for a consistent theory of the organism


Az előadás helyszíne: 1117 Budapest Pázmány sétány 1/c, Déli tömb 1.711 terem
Időpontja: 2011. december 12, hétfő 18 óra

Az előadáson minden érdeklődőt szívesen látunk!


The biological disciplines show us a curious situation, which sets an important 
distinct mark between biology on one hand and astronomy, physics, chemistry, 
mineralogy, and geology on the other. The development of the non-biological 
sciences gave rise to a high level of mathematical sophistication and physical 
explanation. They were seen under the perspective of experimental testing and 
reliable prediction. In contrast the biological disciplines show this trend in 
a restricted way and only in such sections which are overlapping with other 
sciences, especially physics and chemistry. However, the very subject of 
biology, the living organism as a functioning whole, is not taken into 
consideration, it excludes the access of usual scientific procedures.

Attempts to solve this problem were made by formulating new models and theories 
on the basis of thermodynamics, synergetics, traditional systems theories, the 
theory of chaos or, last but not least, on a new variant of vitalism, called 
holism. However these models and theories are helpful for explaining processes 
of physics and technology and are of a general importance for a multitude of 
natural phenomena, but in no way specific for organisms. Systems theory refers 
to interactions and interdependencies of complex entities in general. It does 
not provide acceptable definitions of organisms and the special features of 
living beings. Holism is also not acceptable because it must postulate forces 
and mechanisms which cannot be studied by the methods of natural sciences.

It can easily be shown, that science must be founded on a solid theoretical 
basis. This basis is achieved by a fundamental analysis of acts (Handlungen) 
and above all by a succession of acts, performed by a craftsman or a scientist. 
Each succession of acts enacts a theoretical assumption, a hypothesis about the 
nature of the object of handling.

From this presupposition physicians handle living organisms. If they keep up 
their living functions, they must conceive of organisms as hydraulic and 
mechanic systems, containing other subsystems which are partially of chemical 

In accordance with this approach the theory of organismic constructions 
configures organisms as hydraulic systems, consisting of a mechanical 
frameworks and a fluid filling. Form and organization are enforced by a complex 
system of elements, acting in an antagonistic way. This framework comprises 
additional mechanical and chemical mechanisms. The action of all of these are 
highly coordinated and function in accordance to the requirements of the system 
as a functioning whole.

This concept is consistent with the constructional demands of the mechanical 
framework, which allow only a certain order of procedures. As shown by 
construtvistic philosophers of science the results of empirical science are 
compatible with this view. The same methodological procedures should apply to 
biological research but are not yet worked out in a sufficient way.


Ropolyi László

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