Surrounding Space

Smith, Barry; Varzi, Achille C.

The history of evolution is a history of development from less to more complex organisms. This growth in complexity of organisms goes hand in hand with a concurrent growth in complexity of environments and of organism-environment relations. It is a concern with this latter aspect of evolutionary development that motivates the present paper. We begin by outlining a theory of organism-environment relations. We then show that the theory can be applied to a range of different sorts of cases, both biological and non-biological, in which objects are lodged or housed within specific environments, or niches. Biological science is interested in types — for example in genotypes, phenotypes, and environment types — and in regularities that can serve as the basis for the formulation of laws or general principles. Types, however, can exist only through their corresponding tokens. Our theory of token environments is meant to plug this gap and to provide a first step towards a general theory of causally relevant spatial volumes.



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Theory in Biosciences

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November 24, 2014