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The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
 
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The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision [Format Kindle]

Fritjof Capra , Pier Luigi Luisi
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of 'systemic' thinking. This volume integrates the ideas, models, and theories underlying the systems view of life into a single coherent framework. Taking a broad sweep through history and across scientific disciplines, the authors examine the appearance of key concepts such as autopoiesis, dissipative structures, social networks, and a systemic understanding of evolution. The implications of the systems view of life for health care, management, and our global ecological and economic crises are also discussed. Written primarily for undergraduates, it is also essential reading for graduate students and researchers interested in understanding the new systemic conception of life and its implications for a broad range of professions - from economics and politics to medicine, psychology and law.

Biographie de l'auteur

Fritjof Capra is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, and serves on the faculty of Schumacher College (UK). He is a physicist and systems theorist, and has been engaged in a systematic examination of the philosophical and social implications of contemporary science for the past 35 years.

Pier Luigi Luisi is Professor in Biochemistry at the University of Rome 3. He started his career at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland (ETHZ) where he became full professor in Chemistry and initiated the interdisciplinary Cortona-weeks. His main research focuses on the experimental, theoretical and philosophical aspects of the origin of life and self-organisation of synthetic and natural systems.

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 i just know who i am now 17 mai 2014
Par marcel
Format:Format Kindle
For those who just are wondering :by the way what is life ?

this book give deep insights on the magic of life

thanks Capra for all the books you 've written on the subject
Hidden connections stay one of the best to me.

Read Capra then Read Edgar Morin then read another book of Capra then another book on Morin then Life is beautiful
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An outstanding work. A true magnum opus 27 juin 2014
Par Prof Warwick Fox - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Fritjof Capra has been a consistently interesting and deservedly popular thinker for many years now. I have always been impressed by the clarity and economy with which he has been able to communicate complex ideas, often in considerable depth, to a general audience. Equally, I have always been impressed by the breadth of his intellectual interests and his rare ability to combine these wide-ranging interests into coherent and far-reaching syntheses.

Now, together with his co-author Pier Luigi Luisi, who has himself made significant contributions to the discussion of the emergence of life (see, e.g., Luisi's The Emergence of Life: From Chemical Origins to Synthetic Biology), Capra and Luisi have outdone themselves. Their 500 page book The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (with many words per page, given its large-page format) is, purely and simply, a magnum opus, it really is. It surely represents the culminating statement of Capra and his co-author's work over several decades now on the development of a scientifically-informed unified vision of the world that incorporates and integrates the biological, ecological, cognitive, philosophical, social, political, and even the spiritual dimensions of life. The last time I read such an all-embracing, well-informed, and richly rewarding synthesis as this was when I read Charles Birch and John Cobb's The Liberation of Life: From the Cell to the Community (also from Cambridge University Press) - and that was published back in 1981!

If you want to understand the major cultural shift that we have been undergoing over the last several hundred years (right across the physical, life, and social sciences) from a mechanistic worldview to the emergence of what the authors term a 'systems' worldview - a worldview that sees the world around us in terms of networks, patterns, and complex, mutually interacting, living or life-like systems rather than in terms of discrete building blocks that interact in linear, sequential ways that are open to precise forms of prediction and control - then this is now THE book to read.

As the authors show, this shift in worldview has major implications for almost everything that ought to matter to us - from the very practical ways in which we need to attend to the manifold problems that are pressing in upon us in the ecological and socio-political realms to the ways in which we can find an approach to our inner, spiritual lives that is consistent with our best scientific understandings.

You get the idea. I cannot praise this book enough. Capra and Luisi have done us all a great service. I cannot see how anyone could spend even just a few hours with this book and not come away considerably the richer for it. Spend considerably longer with it and you will undoubtedly come away knowing a lot more about various areas of interest to you than you do now - not to mention more inspired to work for changes in directions that will enable us to sustain the web of life on this planet. Every critically-minded reader will find their own quibbles here and there of course, but c'mon ... the comprehensive breadth and depth of scholarship displayed in this book, all communicated clearly and economically (often with aid of pictures, inset boxes, and diagrams), is simply outstanding.

Warwick Fox - author of Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism, A Theory of General Ethics: Human Relationships, Nature, and the Built Environment, and On Beautiful Days Such as This: A philosopher sings the blues and restores his soul in Greece.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great systems overview, depends on your purpose, with some glitches 29 septembre 2014
Par Murray May - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I read Capra's The Turning Point when it was originally published in the early 80s and thought it was a great book. The Systems View of Life is akin conceptually to this earlier book, but also adds various themes that were introduced in Capra's later book The Web of Life. In rating The Systems View book I would give it five stars as a textbook but four stars if one is looking for a readable book on paradigm shifts applying on multiple fronts and to the whole (as with The Turning Point). The Systems View is drier, as one might expect for a textbook. However, its sweep is wonderfully broad. In addition, it suffers in parts I think from a lack of deeper knowledge of the issues. There is uncritical acceptance of the Lester Brown optimistic line on wind farms (p. 417), when there is in fact considerable angst surrounding wind farms, including with landscape destruction, low frequency noise and associated health problems, and continuing community conflict. Likewise, when smart meters are mentioned as part of smart grids (p. 427), no mention is made of the considerable health concerns and community opposition to smart meters (on EMF and cost grounds). Prof. David Carpenter at the State University of New York is a public health physician who is expert in this field, and more on the topic can be obtained by searching the web for material on this. Overall though, the book's purpose in moving from a mechanistic to a holistic and ecological worldview is very well done.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Systems - A View of Life on All Fronts 5 juin 2014
Par Upstate New York Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
Systems seemed to find a home whatever my career choice. In the chemistry lab, in the church, in the family, and in computer science - each required an understanding of systems theory. Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi’s The Systems View of Life is attempt to meld the concept of systems into the far ranging fields of physical science, biological science, social science, and religion. The success with which this is done might depend on the reader’s interest and training, but the book makes for interesting reading regardless of the reader’s background.

Claiming to be an undergraduate textbook, Capra and Luisi’s text explores the history of scientific thinking from ancient times forward. The authors attempt to move the student through the rolling attitudes that seem to bounce between a very mechanistic approach (i.e. the entire universe is a machine) and a holistic approach (i.e. the universe is more than its whole).

Recognizing that the philosophy of science seems to be a pendulum that moves between these to extremes, the book stresses that the 21st century is in the much more holistic than we have seen in the immediate past. That being so, there is room in the current scientific landscape for a spiritual (not necessarily religious) perspective of our world. The authors point out that there are fundamentalists that are both religious (e.g. Christian or Muslim) and scientific (e.g. Richard Dawkins) who attempt to exclude each other from valid scholarship.

Though coming from Cambridge University Press, the book is not a specifically Christian (or even religious) view of science or a scientific view of religion. Rather, it is an attempt to allow members of each community to appreciate the contribution of the scientific community and the religious community toward a holistic world view. The authors, early in the book, make it clear that they are writing for an undergraduate audience. This might be true for an undergraduate class in the Philosophy of Science, but otherwise the book might not find a place in most undergraduate degree programs. On the other hand, it would find a home in the seminary training for a modern pastor (at least for some) or the graduate science student looking beyond the typical laboratory setting.
______________

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A book to savor. Just what I've been waiting for! 12 juillet 2014
Par Frances Moore Lappe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The Systems View of Life is just what I've been waiting for! The mechanical world view is being displaced in every field of science, it seems; and now, finally, we have a work beautifully weaving together for us the meaning and history of the emergent systems view. We see why this transition is so critical for the future of our planet. Mounting evidence across a range of fields confirms that the core frames through which we see the world determine, literally, what we can see and what we cannot see. If we are to address today's mounting crisis, we must learn to see through the evidence-based lens of relationships. This work helps enormously. The Systems View of Life is a work to savor, to absorb. It will change you. In a systems view we see there are no parts, only participants. What possibilities it opens.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Systems View of Life -- A Review for Professors and for Undergraduate and Graduate Students in the Human Sciences 10 octobre 2014
Par Brian Castellani, Complexity Scientist and Professor, Kent State University - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
As of 2014, there has been much written in the complexity sciences on the all-purpose topics of complex systems and networks and their related scientific methods - I am thinking here, for example, of Byrne and Callaghan's excellent "Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences" or Mitchell's "Complexity: A Guided Tour."

What really hasn't been written, however, is a cohesive or comprehensive review of the content (the actual empirical outcome) of this cutting-edge research - which, in almost every way imaginable, is creating an entirely new view of human life and the global ecosystem that sustains it.

Enter Capra and Luisi's new textbook "The Systems View of Life."

For those new to the complexity science literature (or professors thinking about adopting this book for class), one couldn't ask for a better writing partnership. Capra, a physicist by training, is world-renown for this twin books on systems and complexity science ("The Web of Life" and "The Hidden Connections"), as well as his provocative assessment - from a philosophy of science perspective - of the limits of conventional, mechanistic science and the need for a new, holistic, ecologically responsible systems science ("The Tao of Physics," "The Turning Point" and "The Science of Leonardo"). In turn, Luisi is an internationally recognized professor of biochemistry and complexity science, having done primary research into such core issues as cellular autopoiesis and synthetic biology. He is also well known for his in-depth academic books, as well as his two popular works, "The Emergence of Life" and "Mind and Life."

Divided into three parts, "The Systems View of Life" is a compendium of all-things systems thinking and complexity science:

Part 1 (sections 1 and 2) is devoted to the philosophy of science, focusing on the historical shift from mechanistic thinking (dominated by reductionism, Newtonian mechanics, social physics and a Cartesian view of life) to systems thinking (dominated by the holism, networks, nonlinear mechanics, global network society, and a complex systems view of life). Capra and Luisi are clear: mechanistic thinking is a victim of its own success, as it was so powerful in solving so many issues over the last hundred or so years that (now) it is simply assumed, almost by definition, that it can solve all current problems, which is wrong, as the problems of today, as Warren Weaver pointed out all the way back in 1948 (Science and Complexity), are complex systems problems.

For professors thinking about this textbook, Part1 is an important addition to the literature - here I am thinking of Hammond's "The Science of Synthesis" and Klir's "Facets of Systems Science" - as Capra and Luisi's chapters provide the historical backdrop missing from most introductions to the complexity sciences, helping students, as I already alluded to, understand why the sciences are shifting.

In Part 2 (the third section of the book), Capra and Luisi venture into entirely new territory, doing something (as I have already suggested in my opening remarks) yet to be done in the literature, let alone a textbook: they synthesize the empirical insights of the systems and complexity sciences into a new and cohesive view of life. As they state in their introduction, "We present a unified systemic vision that includes and integrates life's biological, cognitive, social, and ecological dimensions."

The accomplishment of this task cannot be underestimated, as it is significant and should have a lasting impact, demonstrating just how visionary the complexity sciences can be - but only if time is given to their study (I am also thinking of students here) and to collecting and connecting up their insights.

Such a synthesis requires, however, a bit more effort than just connecting the dots - even though Capra and Luisi humbly suggest that this is all they are doing. Instead, it requires a theoretical frame, which the individual empirical insights often lack.

For Capra and Luisi, the theoretical frame is a network-based view of life. Networks provide, literally, the links from one topic to the next in their book, in a sort of "scale-free approach to knowledge," where one moves freely from the human genome and human cognition to social organizations and cities to ecosystems and global society.

But, this is not where things end. For Capra and Luisi, these links must extend beyond theory and empirical synthesis to application and policy - to helping the world become a better place, to the moral culpability of science and to doing the right thing!

While not by any means unanimously embraced, there is a global morality associated with a significant segment of the systems and complexity science community, which goes by a variety of names, from deep ecology and ecofeminism to post-humanism and global civil society. Regardless of the term, the view is the same: we face, currently, as a global society, a significant number of complex systems problems, which can be better managed (or even solved) if the political, economic, scientific and public will to employ such a perspective exists! If not, these problems will most likely be our doom - or, less dramatically, they will result in increased global disparity and inequality and, ecologically speaking, a significantly degraded and decompensated planet.

And so, in the final section of the book - Part 3 - Capra and Luisi employ the complex systems view of life to make sense of and, in turn, address the current list of global social problems we, as a global society, face: from population growth and climate change to economic sustainability and the development of a global civil society.

Again, for a science textbook, this is new territory. Professors typically do not challenge students to think about the links between their science and the global world in which they live. But that is, nonetheless, where our immediate future resides: we need our students, as the generation that will inherit all of these problems, to have the tools necessary to address them, and in a way that leads to a sustainable level of economic, political, cultural, and spiritual/existential wellbeing for the greatest number of people possible! What more, in 500 pages or less, could a professor (or our students) want from a book devoted to making sense of the complex lives we currently live? And so, whether you are teaching introduction to sociology or macroeconomics, cognitive psychology or cultural anthropology, microbiology or philosophy, it doesn't matter; make this textbook part of your required reading list. Our future depends upon it.
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