Originally a medical doctor, Stuart Kauffman is an emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the founders of the Santa Fe Institute, the legendary center of nonprofit studies where complexity theory has been elaborated.
Also a MacArthur Fellow, he holds the Gold Medal of the Accademia Licea in Rome, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has published five major books, among them are At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (1995) and Humanity in a Creative Universe (2016).
University of Pennsylvania, USA
Beyond Physics: The Emergence and Evolution of Life.
Evolution is an historical process in which life literally creates the opportunities into which it then becomes. Evolution is historical because the universe above the level of atoms is vastly non-ergodic. I will discuss the emergence of life based on the new concept of “Constraint Closure” due to Montevil and Mossio. Life is an autocatalytic process in non-equilibrium systems in which boundary condition constraints on the release of energy do work cycles to construct the same set of constraints. Living cells construct themselves and the biosphere. Once proto-cells emerged, their subsequence evolution was unprestatable and entailed by no law whatsoever. The very diversity of species itself creates the ever new niches into which further new species come to exist. Diversity begets more diversity. The biosphere flowers in an open ended process. Some of this is crudely predictable: Higher taxa exist.
Retrodictive accounts work. But the specific evolution though Darwinian preadaptations is not even prestatable. Not only do we not know what will happen, we do not even know what can happen. Theory in Evolution must also embrace unprestatable, open-ended becoming.