Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Among other things, Gregory Bateson is considered a pioneer in the study of communication in living systems and evolution. His contribution to cybernetics was very special because for him communication was a characteristic property of the living world. But his formulation of information as differences sensed by living systems did not hinder him from using the rest of the conceptual tool-box from cybernetics like, e.g., the notions of feedback, digital and analogical codes, and even information as improbability or restraints, which in his view emphasised the importance of the context in a developmental pathway. Being a central figure in the development of cybernetic theory he collaborated
    with a range of researchers from the life sciences who were innovating their own disciplines by introducing cybernetic concepts in their particular fields and disciplines. In the light of this, it should not come as a surprise today to realize how the general ideas that he was postulating for the study of communication systems in biology fit so well with the astonishing findings of current molecular biology, for example in the field of cellular signal transduction networks. I guess this is the case due to the fruitfulness of his abductive approach, being as he was concerned with advancing the search for fundamental principles in communication processes in living systems at different hierarchical levels. In this paper I point out some passages to illustrate Bateson’s coherent approach to context-dependent information, hierarchical contexts and analog/digital communication, which I think molecular biologists could find of great inspiration. In particular I highlight ten “Batesonean ideas” that may prove to be of great relevance to the field of cellular signal transduction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationA Legacy for Living Systems : Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics
    EditorsJesper Hoffmeyer
    Number of pages27
    Volume2
    PublisherSpringer
    Publication date2008
    Pages93-119
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-6705-1
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-6706-8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventCopenhagen Bateson Symposium - København, Denmark
    Duration: 19 May 2010 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceCopenhagen Bateson Symposium
    CountryDenmark
    CityKøbenhavn
    Period19/05/2010 → …
    SeriesBiosemiotics
    Volume2

    Fingerprint

    Gregory Bateson
    Cybernetics
    Communication
    Molecular Biology
    Transduction
    Fundamental
    Surprise
    Restraint
    Pathway
    Communication Processes
    Pioneers
    Life Sciences

    Keywords

    • Communication
    • molecular biology
    • signal transduction
    • cybernetics
    • digital-analogical consensus

    Cite this

    Bruni, L. E. (2008). Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology. In J. Hoffmeyer (Ed.), A Legacy for Living Systems: Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics (Vol. 2, pp. 93-119). Springer. Biosemiotics, Vol.. 2 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6706-8_7
    Bruni, Luis Emilio. / Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology. A Legacy for Living Systems: Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics. editor / Jesper Hoffmeyer. Vol. 2 Springer, 2008. pp. 93-119 (Biosemiotics, Vol. 2).
    @inproceedings{0e92c370c6c111dda016000ea68e967b,
    title = "Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology",
    abstract = "Among other things, Gregory Bateson is considered a pioneer in the study of communication in living systems and evolution. His contribution to cybernetics was very special because for him communication was a characteristic property of the living world. But his formulation of information as differences sensed by living systems did not hinder him from using the rest of the conceptual tool-box from cybernetics like, e.g., the notions of feedback, digital and analogical codes, and even information as improbability or restraints, which in his view emphasised the importance of the context in a developmental pathway. Being a central figure in the development of cybernetic theory he collaborated with a range of researchers from the life sciences who were innovating their own disciplines by introducing cybernetic concepts in their particular fields and disciplines. In the light of this, it should not come as a surprise today to realize how the general ideas that he was postulating for the study of communication systems in biology fit so well with the astonishing findings of current molecular biology, for example in the field of cellular signal transduction networks. I guess this is the case due to the fruitfulness of his abductive approach, being as he was concerned with advancing the search for fundamental principles in communication processes in living systems at different hierarchical levels. In this paper I point out some passages to illustrate Bateson’s coherent approach to context-dependent information, hierarchical contexts and analog/digital communication, which I think molecular biologists could find of great inspiration. In particular I highlight ten “Batesonean ideas” that may prove to be of great relevance to the field of cellular signal transduction.",
    keywords = "Communication, molecular biology, signal transduction, cybernetics, digital-analogical consensus",
    author = "Bruni, {Luis Emilio}",
    note = "Preliminary versions of the chapters in this book were all presented as papers at the Copenhagen Bateson Symposium 2005, sponsored by the University of Copenhagen’s Priority area for Religion in the 21st century (http://www.ku.dk/ priority/Religion/index.htm).",
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    language = "English",
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    Bruni, LE 2008, Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology. in J Hoffmeyer (ed.), A Legacy for Living Systems: Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics. vol. 2, Springer, Biosemiotics, vol. 2, pp. 93-119, København, Denmark, 19/05/2010. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6706-8_7

    Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology. / Bruni, Luis Emilio.

    A Legacy for Living Systems: Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics. ed. / Jesper Hoffmeyer. Vol. 2 Springer, 2008. p. 93-119 (Biosemiotics, Vol. 2).

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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    N2 - Among other things, Gregory Bateson is considered a pioneer in the study of communication in living systems and evolution. His contribution to cybernetics was very special because for him communication was a characteristic property of the living world. But his formulation of information as differences sensed by living systems did not hinder him from using the rest of the conceptual tool-box from cybernetics like, e.g., the notions of feedback, digital and analogical codes, and even information as improbability or restraints, which in his view emphasised the importance of the context in a developmental pathway. Being a central figure in the development of cybernetic theory he collaborated with a range of researchers from the life sciences who were innovating their own disciplines by introducing cybernetic concepts in their particular fields and disciplines. In the light of this, it should not come as a surprise today to realize how the general ideas that he was postulating for the study of communication systems in biology fit so well with the astonishing findings of current molecular biology, for example in the field of cellular signal transduction networks. I guess this is the case due to the fruitfulness of his abductive approach, being as he was concerned with advancing the search for fundamental principles in communication processes in living systems at different hierarchical levels. In this paper I point out some passages to illustrate Bateson’s coherent approach to context-dependent information, hierarchical contexts and analog/digital communication, which I think molecular biologists could find of great inspiration. In particular I highlight ten “Batesonean ideas” that may prove to be of great relevance to the field of cellular signal transduction.

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    Bruni LE. Gregory Bateson's relevance to current molecular biology. In Hoffmeyer J, editor, A Legacy for Living Systems: Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics. Vol. 2. Springer. 2008. p. 93-119. (Biosemiotics, Vol. 2). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6706-8_7