Ideas of Stuart Kauffman

If you are familiar with complex systems theorist Dr. Stuart Kauffman’s ideas you know he covers a broad range of disciplines and concepts, many in considerable depth, and with a keen eye for isomorphic and integrative principles. If you peruse some of his writings and other communications, please share with us how you see Kauffman’s ideas informing our focal interests: brain, mind, intelligence (organic and inorganic), and self-aware consciousness.

Do you find Kauffman’s ideas well supported by empirical research? Which are more scientific and which, if any, more philosophical? What intrigues, provokes, or inspires you? Do any of his perspectives or claims help you better orient or understand your own interests in our focal topics?

Following are a few reference links to get the conversation going. Please add your own in the comments to this post. If you are a member and have a lot to say on a related topic, please create a new post, tag it with ‘Stuart Kauffman,’ and create a link to your post in the comments to this post.

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Edward Berge

“Reason is an insufficient guide for living your life. We need reason, emotion, intuition, sensation, metaphor. What just happened to the Enlightenment, where reason is our hero?” (5:20).

Edward Berge

I’m reading his 11/12/06 piece at, “Beyond reductionism,” where he claims as of that date there was no theory that combined natural selection with self-organizing physical systems. I’m guessing that beside Kauffman there has been a lot of research since then on this symbiosis? References?

Edward Berge

I’m enjoying the new God of science as our human participation in the creativity of the universe. And that there is more to humanity than physics, like emergence into more complex systems like meaning and ethics. It seems qualities like the latter are our gateway into the aforementioned creative participation. All of which is not strictly philosophical but based in complexity and developmental science. I also appreciate the split between epistemology and ontology, where reductionism holds in the latter but not the former. It is also the latter where his take is more ‘scientific.’ He also finds meaning, value and… Read more »

Edward Berge

The Information Philosopher has a good intro to Kauffman’s work with references.