Author(s): Fritjof Capra
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.
Fritjof Capra is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, and serves on the faculty of Schumacher College, Devon. 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 (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.
Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction: paradigms in science and society; Part I. The Mechanistic World View: 1. The Newtonian world-machine; 2. The mechanistic view of life; 3. Mechanistic social thought; Part II. The Rise of Systems Thinking: 4. From the parts to the whole; 5. Classical systems theories; 6. Complexity theory; Part III. A New Conception of Life: 7. What is life?; 8. Order and complexity in the living world; 9. Darwin and biological evolution; 10. The quest for the origin of life on Earth; 11. The human adventure; 12. Mind and consciousness; 13. Science and spirituality; 14. Life, mind, and society; 15. The systems view of health; Part IV. Sustaining the Web of Life: 16. The ecological dimension of life; 17. Connecting the dots: systems thinking and the state of the world; 18. Systemic solutions; Bibliography; Index.