Article

The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

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Abstract

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.

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... Here, we adopt a more precise conceptualization of emergence, grounded in systems thinking, as a phenomenon that arises from the relationships among existing system's elements but that is qualitatively different from and irreducible to them (Capra & Luisi, 2014;Deacon, 2006). Understanding emergence is critical to marketing because, as we will argue, markets are themselves emergent phenomena, as are most, if not all, central marketing-related outcomes-e.g., value, experience, satisfaction, brand meaning. ...
... As noted, there is a relatively consistent conceptualization of emergence as the process through which a new whole results from the interactive combination of constituent elements, for which the properties of the whole cannot be explained by the properties of the constituent elements alone (Broad, 1925;Capra & Luisi, 2014;Deacon, 2006). In short, the emergent whole is more than the sum of its parts. ...
... It is also possible to view epistemological and ontological emergence as separate types, related to phenomena in systems with different degrees of complexity. That is, there might be both weak (or epistemological) and strong (or ontological) emergence (Capra & Luisi, 2014;Kaufman and Clayton, 2006). We generally assent to this orientation but maintain that, at least in relation to the complex systems which are of interest in academic marketing, ontological emergence should be assumed. ...
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Many core marketing concepts (e.g., markets, relationships, customer experience, brand meaning, value) concern phenomena that are difficult to understand using linear and dyadic approaches, because they are emergent. That is, they arise, often unpredictably, from interactions within complex and dynamic contexts. This paper contributes to the marketing discipline through an explication of the concept of emergence as it applies to marketing theory. We accomplish this by first drawing on the existing literature on emergence in philosophy, sociology, and the theory of complex adaptive systems, and then link and extend this understanding to marketing using the theoretical framework of service-dominant (S-D) logic, particularly as enhanced by its service-ecosystems and institutionalization perspectives. Our work recognizes both emergence and institutionalization as integral or interrelated processes in the creation, maintenance, and disruption of markets and marketing phenomena. We conclude by discussing implications for marketing research and practice.
... I am not alone. I write as standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before me such as Aluli-Meyer (2008), Capra and Luisi (2018), Dei ( ), hooks (2003 and others who speak of spirituality and authentic knowing as a way to resist colonization and disrupt the colonial academy. ...
... As humans have contemplated our existence, whether looking to the stars, or digging to earth's core, or finding a place of stillness within, we and our ancestors have found patterns of interconnection (Capra & Luisi, 2018 (Capra & Luisi, 2018;Davis et al, 2015;Meadows, 2008), which place-based and Indigenous thinkers hold central to their ontologies (Meyer, 2008;Greenwood, 2008). In this sense, it is not uncommon for Indigenous and anti-colonial scholars (i.e., Aluli-Meyer, 2008;Patel, 2016) to turn to the writings of quantum scientists, sustainable systems thinkers, and theorists of connection to support our ontological explanations of our experiences and observed phenomena. ...
... As humans have contemplated our existence, whether looking to the stars, or digging to earth's core, or finding a place of stillness within, we and our ancestors have found patterns of interconnection (Capra & Luisi, 2018 (Capra & Luisi, 2018;Davis et al, 2015;Meadows, 2008), which place-based and Indigenous thinkers hold central to their ontologies (Meyer, 2008;Greenwood, 2008). In this sense, it is not uncommon for Indigenous and anti-colonial scholars (i.e., Aluli-Meyer, 2008;Patel, 2016) to turn to the writings of quantum scientists, sustainable systems thinkers, and theorists of connection to support our ontological explanations of our experiences and observed phenomena. ...
Article
In wondering “How are decolonizing, place/land-based, and community-grown learning places created and sustained as alternatives to dominant settler-colonial systems, and what stories would they share about their creation and existence?”, I formed relationships with two alternative, autonomous, decolonizing schools through a teacher-guide at each school who served as guides for me to enter their spaces with invitation. In developing these relationships over 2-3 years and spending 2-3 weeks alongside each of them at their school sites, I was able to sustain natural and deep conversation with my teacher-guides, who then served as co-storyers of this research to collectively consider research questions through the lens of their stories and lived realities in their schools. This study was carried out through narrative storywork, Indigenous and culturally responsive methodologies, and critical autoethnography, as my experience of entering these school communities and forming these relationships over time became a supporting contribution to the data. Data is regarded as all the stories, conversations, reflections, observations, intuited moments, and elements of portraiture that were gathered through this process of sustained relationship with my co-storyers and my dedicated time in being within and experiencing each school space. I identified four major themes as emergent from the data: (1) a necessary process, (2) school as communion, (3) a radical existence, and (4) belonging. Dialogue with my co-storyers about the emergent themes suggests that this work of creating decolonizing, community-grown, place-specific alternatives to settler-state educational systems is necessary across many communities; yet, entering this work requires a necessary process of individual and collective work to align to place-appropriate, decolonized, and Indigenous principals of place, community, culture, and work. Data also suggests that creating such schools is radical yet sustainable and that these schools embody a paradigmatic shift from colonizing, individualistic systems toward collective, communal systems aligned with Indigenous and anti-colonial communities. Furthermore, the data and dialogue suggest that within this work of growing such place-specific communal schools, members of the community are often afforded a greater sense of belonging and collective ownership over their educational experience. Both schools in the study also demonstrated a positive impact on the place and land on which their school was situated. Therefore, this study implicates that there is value in seeking and growing schools outside of the dominant system and that communities who seek to grow such place and person-specific schools can experience great benefit for both human and more-than-human members of the community. Keywords: alternative-autonomous school, communal school, school as communion, decolonizing, anti-colonial, Indigenous-aligned, Indigenous methodology, decolonizing communities, portraiture, critical autoethnography, co-storying research, narrative storywork, belonging, culturally responsive methodologies, place-based, land-based, resisting settler-state, sustainable systems thinking, Hālau Kū Māna, Angeles Workshop School, revolutionary schools, diverse communities, students of color
... Should clinicians consider the history of trauma as the primary problem to be treated (which can be a tempting framing), or should they focus on helping the client deal with the problems at hand? Should they view the relationship of trauma and current problems as a complex "pattern" or "system" (Bateson, 2000), which follows the logic of circular causality or recursivity (Keeney & Keeney, 2012) and is thus unpredictable and self-organizing in nature (Bateson, 2000;Capra & Luisi, 2016;Siegel, 2010)? We argue for this systems point of view. ...
... In the flow of the river, there is harmony and integration accompanied by flexibility, adaptivity, coherence, energy, and stability (Siegel, 2010). Growth, learning, and flourishing are possible between the banks and, as Figure 1 shows, the flow of the river is optimally widening, 2 and the movement in the stream is circular (recursive) rather than linear (Capra & Luisi, 2016;Keeney & Keeney, 2012). ...
... A central theme in complexity physics is that complex systems may emerge or self-organize into complex patterns and collective cell fate behaviors at any scale of a complex system's dynamics/interactions. For instance, complex networks whether they be molecular regulatory networks of genes and proteins orchestrating cellular functions, the cell-cell networks coordinating organisms (e.g., the nervous system, immune systems, etc.), or networks of species and communities interacting within an ecosystem, are self-organized complex systems (Bossomaier and Green 2000;Capra and Luisi 2014). Although at local microscopic scales their dynamics may seem disorderly or random, in the temporal dimension, their collective patterns may be bound to causal structures in state-space (i.e., attractors or networks). ...
... Later, in the 1930s, the ecological sciences were pioneering the concept of complex networks. Thinking in terms of the interactions (feedbacks) and relationships between the parts of an ecosystem as irreducible evolving networks paved a new form of thinking referred to as systems thinking or process thinking (Capra and Luisi 2014). An example of these complex dynamic networks are the food webs describing the feeding relations amidst different communities of an ecosystem, which well-applies to modeling tumor-host-immune networks with respect to their competition for environmental resources. ...
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Cancers are complex dynamic ecosystems. Reductionist approaches to science are inadequate in characterizing their self-organized patterns and collective emergent behaviors. Since current approaches to single-cell analysis in cancer systems rely primarily on single time-point multi-omics, many of the temporal features and causal adaptive behaviors in cancer dynamics are vastly ignored. As such, tools and concepts from the interdisciplinary paradigm of complex systems theory are introduced herein to decode the cellular cybernetics of cancer differentiation dynamics and behavioral patterns. An intuition for the attractors and complex networks underlying cancer processes such as cell fate decision-making, multiscale pattern formation systems, and epigenetic state-transitions is developed. The applications of complex systems physics in paving targeted therapies and causal pattern discovery in precision oncology are discussed. Pediatric high-grade gliomas are discussed as a model-system to demonstrate that cancers are complex adaptive systems, in which the emergence and selection of heterogeneous cellular states and phenotypic plasticity are driven by complex multiscale network dynamics. In specific, pediatric glioblastoma (GBM) is used as a proof-of-concept model to illustrate the applications of the complex systems framework in understanding GBM cell fate decisions and decoding their adaptive cellular dynamics. The scope of these tools in forecasting cancer cell fate dynamics in the emerging field of computational oncology and patient-centered systems medicine is highlighted.
... According to Godfrey and Lewis (2019, p. 14), pragmatism infuses stakeholder theory with the imperative of a "moral inquiry that accommodates multiple desires and differing views of morally appropriate action" and by so doing, draws attention to how the key processes of moral living can practically facilitate the attainment of human flourishing. Freeman et al. (2020, p. 217) note that a pragmatist outlook entails the rejection of the "narrow scientific view" associated with positivism that pervades much of economics and strategic management theorizing (Capra & Luisi, 2014;Nelson, 2003;Wicks & Freeman, 1998). ...
... Neoclassical economics is widely believed to be grounded in the Cartesian and Newtonian mechanistic worldview that emerged in the course of the Scientific Revolution (Capra & Luisi, 2014;Nelson, 2006;von Bertalanffy, 1968). Nelson (2006) explains that neoclassical economics envisages the economy as a machine, which "operates in an automatic fashion, following inexorable and amoral 'laws'. ...
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Advocates of stakeholder theory have long known that grasping its key insights requires a specific worldview that is, unfortunately, still not prevalent within the community of strategic management scholars. We argue that this worldview encompasses a process ontology that is radically different from the substance-ontological outlook typical of the mainstream approaches to strategic management. The unquestioned commitment of strategic management scholarship to a substance ontology leads to the viewing of corporations as macro-entities comprising aggregations of discrete autonomous actors each relying on individual choice and instrumental rationality. In contrast, within a process-ontological worldview, corporations and their stakeholders are seen to be sustained and attenuated through social practices and relationships involving interlocking chains of coping actions taken in everyday interactions. We show that adopting a process-ontological worldview presents a much-needed step that may help strategic management scholars reach a better understanding of how stakeholder theory deals with three problems of today's capitalism, those value creation and trade, ethics of capitalism, and managerial mindsets. On this basis, we discuss how to process ontology may lead stakeholder theory to further refine its understanding of business strategy, corporate social responsibility, and the common ground between the firm and stakeholders.
... The current environmental crisis is to a large extent the result of this human dominion, particularly with industrialization. The response to this crisis has led to the emergence of a powerful environmental movement and proponents of a holistic worldviewa worldview which more than echoes those held by Indigenous peoples all over the world (Capra and Luisi 2014;Wood 2012). The nature of the crisis is such that there have been arguments for drastic changes in consumption and in the economy, changes that would in many ways transform society. ...
... The reality of interconnectedness and interdependence, emphasized by environmentalists as well as systems and complexity thinkers and Indigenous worldviews, has been made painfully obvious by the pandemic of 2020 (Cajete 2000;Capra and Luisi 2014;Morin 2008). In the United States, this view goes against the historically strong valuing of individualism and the conquest of Nature. ...
Chapter
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The notion of a “crisis of the future” was introduced by French philosopher Edgar Morin (Morin and Kern 1999). It refers to the loss of the possibility of progress, as well as a loss of a sense of what progress even means or might look like. As a result, there is a loss of direction, of possibility, and of value (our sense of what constitutes progress reflects what we value). This loss is exacerbated by the fear of environmental, nuclear, or other catastrophes. Positive visions of the future are replaced in popular culture by dystopian, postapocalyptic scenarios. It is unclear how to even think about the future, or what might be more desirable futures. Morin interprets the term crisis in one of its original meanings, as the moment when a diagnosis is possible, and this is what makes his approach particularly relevant.
... Complex systems evolve as an adaptive response to environmental needs and stressors. Since social systems are complex adaptive systems, they are dynamic systems where emergence is characteristically dissipative, involving multiple feedback loops [50]. Social networks serve as a connection line through which feedback loops and interactions within a social system are sustained [50]; hence, understanding social interactions is fundamental in determining the flow of information and feedback that leads to the overall system outcomes. ...
... Since social systems are complex adaptive systems, they are dynamic systems where emergence is characteristically dissipative, involving multiple feedback loops [50]. Social networks serve as a connection line through which feedback loops and interactions within a social system are sustained [50]; hence, understanding social interactions is fundamental in determining the flow of information and feedback that leads to the overall system outcomes. ...
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Disasters result where hazards and vulnerabilities intersect. The concept of vulnerability itself is mainly a social construct and the extent to which this can be overcome while transforming disaster-prone systems has often been emphasised in the critical hazard literature. However, the extent to which community-based organisations contribute to post-disaster transformation at the community level remains unexamined. This paper is aimed at examining the extent of the role of community-based organisations (CBOs) in the transformative adaptation of post-earthquake Lyttelton. Quantitative data was obtained from community members using a questionnaire survey of 107 respondents, supporting interviews, and secondary data to explain the phenomenon in this study. System dynamics and agent-based modelling tools were applied to analyse the data. The results show that while CBOs played a major role in Lyttelton’s transformation by fostering collaboration, innovation, and awareness, the extent of their impact was determined by differences in their adaptive capacities. The transformation was influenced by the impacts of community initiatives that were immediate, during, and a long time after the disaster recovery activities in the community. Our research extends the discourse on the role of community-based organisations in disaster recovery by highlighting the extent of CBOs’ impacts in community post-disaster transformation.
... Equally important, SES scientists (Cundill et al., 2012) distinguish between hard systems approaches that involve engineering toward an ideal state, and soft systems approaches that involve socially complex processes of learning and decisionmaking, and refute the idea of engineering people (Checkland, 2000;Cundill et al., 2012). Furthermore, while both approaches share the concept of feedback (the science of communication and control in living and engineered systems), living systems also possess the ability to organize themselves and create novel structures and behaviors (Capra & Luisi, 2014). Conservation and development practitioners do not always appreciate this important distinction, given the influence of Cartesian and Newtonian frameworks on natural and social sciences, which emphasized viewing people and nature as mechanical objects (ibid.). ...
... To that end we recruited teams of life sciences faculty members and administrators to attend a workshop focused on developing attendees' skill in and knowledge of how to leverage organizational change. To do this we used systems thinking, a successful strategy for effecting organizational change adopted from business and other fields (Capra & Luisi, 2014). ...
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We have developed and tested a dynamic approach to assist positive, department-wide change at institutions of higher education. Here we describe a workshop strategy designed to empower faculty as agents of change. This strategy incorporates tools and concepts including systems thinking, visual facilitation, and action planning to drive transformation at the department/program level. Although our workshops were developed for life sciences faculty, the processes we adopted, and the lessons learned from the project, provide a framework for the faculty of any STEM discipline at any type of higher education institution to develop skills to effect changes in approach 42 Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal and pedagogy that will improve learning outcomes. While our workshops were carried out in person, we describe approaches that can be adapted for online use.
... (CHANS) are integrated systems where humans and nature interact (Liu et al., 2007).Systems are 'coupled' when the interconnected flows of information, material or energy result in effects in one system that cannot be meaningfully explained without understanding the corresponding system (Alberti et al., 2011). Thus, feedbacks within coupled systems can dramatically amplify small changes across the system (Capra & Luisi, 2014). Tourism provides an illustrative example of the complex feedback loops within CHANS (Liu et al., 2007). ...
Article
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Zoonotic viruses have sacrificed hundreds of millions of people throughout human history. There are currently 1.7 million unidentified viruses estimated to be circulating in mammal and bird populations. It is foreseeable that in the near future, another of these will transmit to people, heralding the start of the next pandemic—one potentially more deadly than COVID-19. At the core of this article is a call for pre-emptive protection of the natural environment and its regenerative systems as the first fundamental step in the prevention of future epidemics and pandemics. While zoonoses originate in nature, the predominant legal discipline, managing these crises, is international health law which is invoked reactively once an outbreak has been reported. In this paper, we identify the need for a legal shift in epidemic and pandemic responses. In particular, we call for the incorporation of international environmental agreements to prevent the initial viral spillover from animal to human populations. We propose a strategy of strengthening existing agreements and a coupling of legal disciplines, such as health and environmental law, emphasizing the need for synergies across legal disciplines to enhance the emergence and management of future pandemics and epidemics. We introduce Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS) Law to frame the required integration across legal instruments to regulate inextricably human-nature connections and advocate for the development of a Convention on Epidemics and Pandemics.
... Sistemsko in analitično mišljenje sta nasprotna si pojma, a se lahko dopolnjujeta (81). Podjezična sredinska guba je majhna struktura v ustni votli-ni, ki jo v našem prispevku analiziramo na izoliran način, da bi njena pomen in delovanje vključili v celoten sistem človeškega telesa. ...
Article
Številni avtorji navajajo pomen interdisciplinarne obravnave kratkega jezičnega frenuluma ter vlogo zdravnika kot zadnjega, ki odloča o morebitni potrebi po kirurškem posegu. V prispevku želimo osvetliti trenutno znanje o jezičnem frenulumu po svetu. Vključeni so podatki iz prispevkov v slovenskem, angleškem in italijanskem jeziku, ki so bili objavljeni do aprila 2021. Opisane so obstoječe klasifikacije in ocenje-valni protokoli jezičnega frenuluma pri novorojenčkih, otrocih in mladostnikih ter pri odraslih. Vključeni so tudi podatki dveh histoloških raziskav, ki prinašata nov predlog poimenovanja omenjene ustne strukture. V strokovni literaturi glede kirurških posegov jezičnega frenuluma obstaja veliko različnih, tudi nasprotujočih si mnenj. Če se zdravnik odloči za operacijo, moramo opraviti predhodno in nadaljnjo obravnavo – miofunkcionalno zdravljenje pri ustrezno izobraženem strokovnjaku. Če strokovnjaki ne poskušajo zdraviti jezičnega frenuluma, obstaja možnost, da bolnik razvije kompenzatorne gibe artikulatorjev med govorom glede na anatomsko strukturo jezičnega frenuluma, vidimo pa tudi vpliv na celotno telo.
... Para enfrentar tales retos y desafíos el autor plantea y promueve una serie de posicionamientos, desarrollos y actitudes que llevan a trasformar las instituciones sociales, y que, con base en el pensamiento sistémico, ayudan a la conformación de un nuevo paradigma social, sin el cual la gestión y trasformación sobre lo ambiental es inviable. Estas observaciones siguen presentes en sus obras más contemporáneas como La trama de la Vida (Capra y Sempaud, 1998), Las conexiones ocultas (Capra, 2002) o The Systems View of Life (Capra & Luisi, 2014), las cuales resultan de mucha notoriedad y uso en las reflexiones recientes de los investigadores de nuestra región. Capra (1982) Ideas que están en la base de la crisis ambiental ...
... Arguably, higher-order theoretical abstractions capture the broad range of factors that impact a phenomenon (Vargo and Lusch, 2004). It provides opportunities to see a system's parts as well as its whole (Capra and Luisi, 2014). ...
Article
Purpose–Recent marketing research provides conceptual models to investigate the well-being of collectives, but service system well-being (SSW) remains untested empirically. This research conceptualises and develops a measure for SSW at the micro, meso and macro levels. Design/methodology/approach–Using a series of studies, a multidimensional SSW scale is developed and validated to ensure its generalisability. After the development of preliminary items, Study 1 (N = 435 of service employees) was used to purify items using factor analyses. Study 2 (N = 592 of service employees) used Structural equation modelling (SEM) with AMOS and SmartPLS to test the scale’s dimensionality, reliability, and validity. Findings–The results confirm the validity and reliability of the nine dimensions of SSW. The measure was validated as a third-order micro-, meso- and macro-level construct. The dimensions of existential and transformative well-being contribute to micro-level well-being. The dimensions of social, community and collaborative well-being contribute to meso-level well-being. Government, leadership, strategic and resource well-being drive macro-level well-being. In addition, a nomological network was specified to assess the impact of SSW on service actor life satisfaction and customer orientation. Research implications- We contribute to services literature by theorising SSW as a hierarchical structure and empirically validating the dimensions and micro-meso-macro levels that contribute to SSW. Practical implications–The SSW scale is a useful diagnostic tool for assessing levels of well-being across different systems and providing insights that can develop strategies and programs to improve the well-being of collectives. Originality/value– The research is the first study to theorise the micro-meso and macro levels of service system well-being and operationally validate the SSW construct. Keywords Service system, Multilevel, Collective Well-being Paper type Research paper
... Considering that systems thinking first emerged in its modern form in the 1950s as a reaction to the limitations imposed by traditional scientific methods, as well as the management methods applied to real-life complex problems [50], it becomes clear that systems thinking requires a change of perspective, or what the physicist Fritjof Capra called a shift from a mechanistic to a holistic paradigm [51,52]. The discipline "Systems Thinking and Theory of Constraints" ("ST & TC") consists of several modules: thinking beyond the obvious, constructing mental models, introduction to the Theory of Constraints, the tree of current and future reality Within the framework of "ST & TC" discipline, soft skills are being developed in the direction of systematic understanding of life tasks and problems, determining the optimum solution for a problem, as well as determination of the loopback circuit for resolving the situation. ...
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Radical changes in education occurred in 2020 during the pandemic. The need to fully switch to a distance-learning mode required rethinking the approaches to the organization of the learning process. Despite the fact that Russian universities were already using digital learning tools quite extensively at the beginning of the pandemic—those were seen as auxiliary, supporting tools. Within a short period, online learning made it necessary to design educational programs from a digital-technologies viewpoint, as traditional teaching methods had lost some of their functionality in the distance-learning mode. First of all, the changes affected the disciplines focused on the formation of soft skills, such as communication skills, group interaction, and managing people. Another problem of digitalization of all aspects of our lives is the huge amount of readily available information. In this regard, developing the students’ systemic thinking and augmenting their ability to find and properly use information became an important alternative to acquisition of factual knowledge. This article summarizes the experience of the educational process at one of the leading Russian universities, National University of Science and Technology (NUST) “MISIS” during the COVID-19 pandemic based on the analysis of the degree of application of digital tools in online and hybrid learning. In this article, we present the description of methodology approaches to the use of digital tools for soft skill development, using the example of teaching specific disciplines “Systems Thinking and Theory of Constraints” and “Life Cycle of Corporations and Change Management” in the master’s program in Corporate Finance taught at NUST “MISIS”.
... It is where students are most likely to hold prior knowledge and research in cognitive linguistics (Capra and Luisi, 2014) suggest that we rationalise and reason using as a base our whole bodily experience. While biology education has experienced a bias towards recent methodological successes in the molecular revolution, biology students must surely have a bias towards what explains their immediate world. ...
Preprint
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Current biology curricula in secondary schools do not theorise the whole organism, and instead constitute the learning of levels of organisation above and below the organism. The whole organism is the most concrete and accessible level for students, and where they can find meaning of new biological knowledge. Furthermore, the nature that students experience in their immediate world is likely to consist of other organisms. Consequently, there are two problems with the whole organism's absence in biology curricula: Firstly, without a theory of the whole organism students are likely to connect new knowledge to their own intuitive theories of the organism. Secondly, students will struggle to connect with nature around them if they cannot explain organisms in a scientific manner. This article calls for the skill of reading organisms to be a priority of biology curricula, which is the ability to interpret, predict, and rationalise about the behaviour of organisms seen in nature. It is proposed that this skill depends on two complementary theories of the organism: the processual nature of organisms, and life history strategies. Additionally, by commencing curricula with these theories, students will have a frame of reference to make meaning of the rest of the course.
... In der Literatur wird jedoch diskutiert, ob die Messung von Wert (nach der SD-Logik) überhaupt möglich sein kann (Gallan & Jefferies, 2020). Darüber hinaus wird ebenfalls in Frage gestellt, ob solche statischen Ansätze Implikationen für die Entwicklung von Dienstleistungen bieten können (Capra & Luisi, 2014;Vargo & Lusch, 2017), welche aufgrund sozialer Interaktionen von einer hohen Komplexität und Unsicherheit geprägt sind. Um dieser Dynamik zu begegnen kann in Anlehnung an Morelli (2009) ein offenes System von Komponenten formuliert werden, das als "Infrastruktur" für die Dienstleistungsentwicklung dient. ...
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The research area of value-centred and customer-centred service design transforms customers' needs in marketable offers. This field is dominated by a focus on services that are individually oriented towards people and their values and gives providers a competition advantage. Even outside the market, in the practical field of research, there has been an increasing demand for individual and collaborative support for several years. However, it has been barely investigated so far, how offers for research-related services can benefit from market approaches. This paper is dedicated to addressing this issue and draws on the "value-in-use" as a basis for design described in service-dominant logic. Therefore, a theoretical model is used that transfers goal dimensions and so-called activated work resources as conceptualisation levels to the professional context of researchers. In an empirical study these levels are specified with the subjective perception of value from 14 service experiences. The resulting findings build a deep understanding of the various levels of possible value and how this value can be created for researchers when using services.
... The prominence of CDST in SLA research has been influenced by social disciplines which provide evidence that most of the important issues of our time are complex and dynamic and must be viewed from this perspective (Capra and Luisi, 2014). Larsen-Freeman (1997) was the first to propose that SLA issues should be dealt with explicitly from a complex dynamic perspective. ...
Article
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With the popularity of positive psychology research in second language acquisition since 2012, foreign language enjoyment (FLE) has attracted many researchers in this domain. Several innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods have been used so far to explore FLE. However, given the dynamic nature of FLE, the development of innovative tools can contribute to the exploration of the micro-scale dynamics of FLE. This study aims to introduce enjoymeter as one of these innovative tools and provide an example for its use in a foreign language learning setting. To do this, the application of enjoymeters in the exploration of the dynamics of FLE in an English as a foreign language course in China is explained. The enjoymeter data along with interviews were collected in three sessions of the course and were analyzed via thematic analysis. The findings indicated that moments of enjoyment emerged in terms of both private FLE and social FLE in these three sessions. Also, the use of enjoymeter indicated that it can enable researchers to map the dynamics of FLE session by session and even within each session of the course. The pedagogical implications of the use of enjoymeters in foreign language classes are discussed and future directions are explained.
... What are key characteristics or similarities in data sharing (extraction) ecosystem practices that would qualify these practices as 'polluting'? Which negative effects on an ecosystem as a whole, at an organismic, holistic, and self-organizing level, would justify qualifying a phenomenon as pollution, thereby not just focusing on pollution damage to its parts or segments (Capra & Luisi, 2014)? Following Boley and Chang (2007), we assert that affecting an ecosystem through pollution, there needs to be some form of 'multiplication' involved that harms a healthy (harmonious and sustainable) state of an ecosystem and exacerbates potential damage. ...
Thesis
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Data sharing and data harvesting practices not only infringe the privacy rights of individuals but cause significant harms to others as well. Emissions of personally sensitive behavioural data are leaked into the digital economy causing damage to social practices and destabilizing political and informational ecosystems. Data pollution is like industrial pollution, and environmental law suggestions can offer solutions to the problem. Will a Pigouvian tax on data extraction limit or constrain the negative externalities of data pollution? This explorative research aims to investigate whether a data pollution tax can operate as a regulatory instrument to curb data pollution and whether citizens support this measure. Do citizens support a data pollution tax designed so that harms to others, affecting their core human capabilities, will be taxed as a matter of principle? Suppose excessive (corporate) data sharing and extraction practices that cause harm to others will be taxed. Do individuals expect that persons and corporations will change their data transmission practices? Our survey findings show that (United States) citizens consider that harms caused by data pollution should be taxed. Respondents will also substantially decrease their data pollution behaviour once a tax is imposed. However, and to our surprise, our research findings also lay bare a possible ‘bad behaviour paradox’: the more significant the harm caused by some instances of data pollution, the less willing people are to change behaviour relative to the tax imposed.
... In recent years many scientists and systems thinkers have acknowledged the need to balance more reductionist gene-based views of human development with the importance of our collective social and cultural learning (e.g. Capra and Luisi, 2014;Henrich, 2016;Laland, 2017;Mesoudi, 2011;Sapolsky, 2017). As human knowledge has become ever more complex through techno-scientific progress humanity has become increasingly reliant on technologies many of us do not fully understand (as one of the participants in my case study stated: 'If you give an iPhone to a high school student, [and ask them] 'where do you start on building this?', they would be entirely clueless'). ...
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This article explores the tensions and contradictions in the potential success of maker-learning in Higher Education (HE) as supported in academic library makerspaces. Insights are formed from an in-depth, Cultural-Historical Activity Theory framed case study on a well-established North American HE academic library-based makerspace service. Lessons are drawn from the organisational tensions that emerged as challenges in its development. Participants were from the library service, students and academics from different disciplines that make significant use of the library makerspace. The ‘relational agency’ and ‘common knowledge’ of academic librarians in bringing together academic and student perspectives on the utility of maker-learning is found to be key. Maker-learning is observed to be an intertwined embodied/haptic, social/dialogic and rational/critical expansive cross-disciplinary system in a Zone of Proximal Development. Evidence of attempts to address the themes of inclusivity, diversity and sustainability to achieve ethical-maker-learning outcomes are discussed and developed. The article then expands on Ratto’s Critical Maker pedagogy utilised by the case study library service. I conclude with the proposal of a potentially transformative new concept for supporting cross-disciplinary maker-learning systems, ‘Critical Material Literacy’ (CML), whereby technical and material awareness connects with progressive concerns for people and the planet. This new theoretical concept is designed to start proactively addressing the key case study themes, with academic librarians becoming critical agents in creating ethical-maker knowledge hubs.
... How often is our species understood as a social system that while only coming into being about 200,000 years ago, appears intent upon separation from all other systems? (Capra and Luisi, 2014). Do we even interrogate the functional basis for the economic social institution whose underlying colonial capitalist's ideas, while only roughly 500 years old, appear so antiquated, racist and unhealthy? ...
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In the interest of developing sustainability practitioners, this manuscript challenges the conceptualization of transformative learning for Education for Sustainability (EfS) in relation to single courses or programs. Conversely, I will argue that becoming a sustainability practitioner (i.e., someone who takes action in the interest of the sustainability movement) is life-long and life-wide commitment. Time and how and why it matters is addressed. To develop this point, this manuscript details a case study of an education for sustainability graduate program that I designed and currently lead. The purpose is to further theorize transformative learning as it links individual action(s) and collective change(s) in the border-like but permeable spaces that are in-between. It asks the practical question of the ways educators (and practitioners) might expansively and generatively work together in creating a lifetime of classrooms to continuously bridge individual action and collective change.
... Consequently, if professionals are expected to understand the conflict, they need to understand the context in which the conflict takes place and the patterns that perpetuate it (Lor as, 2021). This is in line with a systemic understanding, which claims that humans' challenges (individuals, couples, and families) need to be put in a contextual frame, where the nature of the relationships involved is assessed (Capra & Luisi, 2016). Thus, each individual's description of the interactional problem makes little or no sense without the relationships of those involved being assessed and taken into account. ...
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This article explores professionals' understanding and experiences of parental high conflicts in Norwegian family counsellor and child welfare services. The data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis, examining four focus group interviews with a total of 24 professionals. We used tame and wicked problems as a theoretical frame of reference in order to discuss how high conflict cases can be understood. The analysis shows that the complexity and experiences of high conflicts challenge professionals in their assessments and development of solutions. Our conclusion is that the nature of the complexity, unpredictability, and instability of high conflicts fits within the framework of wicked problems.
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Educational research regularly claims, with lots of evidence, that humans learn from experience. However, experience is composed of outer and inner sensations. Thus, if humans learn from experience, we would expect that educational research would be replete with work on sensation. Yet sensation in the wild, outside laboratory studies, plays no real role in educational research on teaching and learning. This paper is based on current research, in several different disciplines, that sensation and feeling activate, guide, and assess cognition and that much of human thinking and problem-solving is based on associations formed from experience that are triggered quickly and unconsciously. We explore the nature of living things, learning and thinking without consciousness, the distinctive nature of the human brain and body, and the role of the physical and social body in cognition. The paper discusses some of the implications of a sensation-based view of human thinking and acting for how we study learning, language, and social identity.
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There are attributes and functions required of all viable complex adaptive and evolvable systems (CAS/CAES). These are brought together in a general archetype model, which is then seen to be composed of several also general archetype sub-models. Every CAS/CAES will be shown to contain a set of work (material/energy transformation) processes that collectively comprise its internal economy. This economy and several peripheral processes involved in system maintenance (autopoiesis) and, in evolvable systems, making new arrangements internally to address major changes in the environment, require a specific organization of governance modeled by a hierarchical cybernetic governance system archetype. All CAS/CAESs can be described by their internal network of decision nodes responsible for managing the economic, peripheral, and the decision agents themselves. The agent/agency archetype describes a generic decision processor situated at each node in the network. The CAS/CAES is the result of an ongoing effort to integrate a large number of important ideas from numerous workers who have developed their own versions of models in this arena. We compare and contrast a few of these to argue for the case that the CAS/CAES archetype is a more holistic and more broadly relevant model suitable for guiding analysis as per Chap. 6 and design of artifactual systems to be covered in Part 4.
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This chapter offers a conceptual deep dive into the complex field of mindset shifts as prerequisite for regenerative civilizations and a driver of transformations. The chapter explores why a global shift in mindsets is a necessary condition for accelerating proactive and collective behaviour change, and how this could happen. It suggests that mindsets are both place-based and global. They emerge from culture and traditions and are at the same time heavily influenced by global exchange and communication. The stories about how the world works, how reality emerges and how people can co-create futures give rise to narratives of possibilities—the key leverage points for transformation literacy . The chapter identifies three noticeable trends which have implications for transformation literacy. The first trend is a deeper understanding of co-evolution which refers to the world’s complex relationality in dynamic co-evolutionary patterns. The second trend is the emerging theme of a relational quality of life that refers to the interaction of social, political and natural systems. The third trend is the emerging realization of the need for stewardship referring to a caring role in future-making. The chapter concludes with an overview of the different authors’ chapters and how they relate to the emerging trends.
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This chapter suggests that humankind needs to reconsider its relationship with the planet’s amazing miracle: Life . Shifts in mindsets need to reflect this emerging new view of reality. COVID-19 as a global pandemic has alerted many people not only to the need to realign humankind’s relationship with nature, but also highlighted the global interconnectedness and the vulnerability of people. The increasing concern for the future of humanity and our life-support system needs reflections about the underlying view of reality that informs approaches to transformations. If humanity wants to rise up to collective stewardship towards stabilizing the trajectories of our planet, transformation actors need to become humble partners of life’s potential to renew and replenish. The chapter introduces the concept of systems aliveness as a guiding compass for transformative change. It emphasizes that understanding what gives life to systems needs to be at the centre of emerging transformation literacy. Drawing from multiple, interdisciplinary sources of the systems aliveness approach offers an avenue to reorientate transformation efforts around six generic principles. Using these principles as a lens to designing transformation initiatives and translating them into a stewardship architecture provides creative pathways for the long journey to regenerative civilizations.
Chapter
This chapter introduces the term transformation literacy as an urgently required skill for decision-makers and change agents. It suggests that transformation literacy is the knowledge and capacity of collectives of individual and institutional actors to steward sustainability transformations effectively together across institutions, societal sectors and nations. This includes the human capacity to collectively identify and shift dysfunctional patterns of societal and human-to-nature interaction at local and global scales. The chapter summarizes why transformation efforts are needed to not only achieve the vision of a sustainable world at all scales, but also to charter pathways towards regenerative civilizations. It briefly analyses the current failing systems and suggests that there is a need to build societal structures and institutional systems that have systems aliveness as its core value. It explores the role of future narratives of emergency , which currently dominate the discourse around the climate crisis, and narratives of emergence that are increasingly used in the niches of pioneering new approaches to regenerative civilizations. The chapter suggests to deepen knowledge and practice in the three levels of transformation literacy: mindset shifts, systems understandingand process competence. It concludes with an overview how these three levels of transformation literacy inform the three parts of the book.
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This chapter takes not only into a historic perspective that looks at human consciousness development over many millennia, but emphasizes the importance of mythology as the most deeply ingrained way of humankind to keep learning for transformations. The author argues, contrary to the modern mind’s needs, that the creative aspect of change or transformation is not order, but disorder or chaos. To avoid the final fragmentation or destruction of our world, the intuitive ‘universal power of self-renewal’ (the life instinct) needs to be reintegrated into rational science, to fill our scientific particularization (the death instinct) with meaning, which is adequate to living in a humane way on our planet. This makes the story of the soul (Greek: psyche), which is passed on by peoples and cultures in a nonlinear-out-of-time-way, not only an important resource to understand the entire civilizational process and subsequently the development of regenerative civilizations. By allowing the forthcoming of an innate integral structure in the human mind, which uses both rationality and intuition, creative mythology is a discipline important for transformation literacy. It can contribute to the so much needed acceleration and speed up the process of collective regeneration, because this is a creative act and unleashes what was previously impossible.
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At both the individual and societal levels, we are entangled within environmental, social, and technological systems that shape our material and emotional states. Contemporary art needs to integrate and challenge the information circulating within these interacting systems to address our increasingly complex lifeworld. This systemic understanding emerged in the 1960s as part of a broader growth in relational thinking within the natural and social sciences, which extended the conceptual boundaries of the artwork. The ecosystem, a model originally developed within ecology, is an example of a systems model as it describes the flow of matter, energy, and information through the physical world. This model has evolved into a powerful analogical tool to describe contemporary culture’s entanglement with nature and technology. The ecosystem model is invoked here to describe how information flows through the artwork. The paper suggests that art is a vital form of communication as it can channel noise or unknown information. This channelling is demonstrated with the artwork, The Creation Myth (1998), by Jason Rhoades. This work anticipated the convergence of natural and technological systems, and it demonstrates the ability of the arts to channel unknown messages or noise, thereby disrupting the dominant signals of contemporary culture.
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Draft of a chapter expanding on a paper given at the 11th International Whitehead Conference “Nature in Process: Novel Approaches to Science and Metaphysics” held in 2017 at the University of the Azores. Original Abstract available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319205396_Towards_a_Process_Biology_Whitehead's_Philosophy_and_Relational_Biology
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Industrial civilization has created extensive material wealth for human beings while bringing severe environmental, social, and economic problems. In the context of constructing an ecological civilization, adopting a holistic and dynamic approach to system thinking and design will help us understand and respond to increasingly complex problems and help achieve sustainable social and economic development. This paper will sort out the essential viewpoints and evolutionary logic of systems thinking, explaining systemic design's characteristics, principles, and methods. The study will then apply the above theories and methods with the help of different types of case studies. Finally, the limitations and development directions of systemic design research and practice are proposed.
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The concept of sustainable lifestyles is said to have reached the limits of its usefulness. As commonly understood, it impedes an effective response to our increasingly complex world, and the associated societal challenges. In this context, the emerging paradigm of relationality might offer a way forward to renew our current understanding and approach. We explore this possibility in this study. First, we systematize if, and how, the current dominant social paradigm represents a barrier to sustainable lifestyles. Second, we analyze how a relational approach could help to overcome these barriers. On the basis of our findings, we develop a Relational Lifestyle Framework (RLF). Our aim is to advance the current knowledge by illustrating how sustainable lifestyles are a manifestation of identified patterns of thinking, being, and acting that are embedded in today’s “socioecological” realities. The RLF revitalizes the field of sustainable lifestyle change, as it offers a new understanding for further reflection, and provides new directions for policy and transformation research.
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While the important role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) has been historically underappreciated, recently there has been a rapid proliferation of empirical, methodological and theoretical progress in our more detailed understanding of the ANS. Previous more simplistic models of the role of the ANS using the construct of homeostasis have been enhanced by the use of the construct of allostasis and a wide variety of technological innovations including wearable and implantable biosensors have led to improved understanding of both basic and applied knowledge. This chapter will explore in particular heart rate variability (HRV) as a rich variable which has developed an extensive literature, beginning with predicting all-cause mortality, but now encompassing a wide variety of disease and illness states; cognitive, affective and behavioral processes and performance optimization. A critical analysis of HRV from the perspective of complex adaptive systems and non-linear processes will be included and innovative future uses of HRV will be described.
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Hindu classical texts like the Veda, the Upanishad, and the Epics are primarily concerned with the eternal mystery of the absolute and relative reality, its comprehensibility, and its sustenance. The religious and cultural concepts of Brahma, Atma, Rta, Satya, and Dharma, which have shaped the Hindu identity over the ages, are the essence of these texts and the Hindu religion. All these concepts are included and comprehended in one great universal, that is Brahma as a mass of consciousness. The cosmic reach of the Hindu worldview is shaped by the creation of these cultural concepts, connections between these concepts, and between the concepts and sense experience. These cultural concepts have therefore created the world for Hindus by connecting the dots of the manifest and un-manifest reality. These concepts are abstract, open, adaptive, contextual, and connected in a system, but this abstraction and connectivity is their creativity and competence to straddle across time and space and make the dynamic reality comprehensible and enable meaningful and effective action. In this sense these concepts are coexistent with the lived reality, they define reality and also create reality as known to us. They span, connect, and integrate different levels of objective reality to make it meaningful and complementary for those who believe in these conceptualizations, and make it possible for them to engage in constructive action. Hindutva is the unity of spirit that binds these conceptualizations and links up the different periods of India's history into an organic whole. Achievements of Hinduism would not have been possible without the unifying spirit of Hindutva that runs through these conceptualizations.
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Illusions are commonly defined as departures of our percepts from the veridical representation of objective, common-sense reality. However, it has been claimed recently that this definition lacks validity, for example, on the grounds that external reality cannot possibly be represented truly by our sensory systems, and indeed may even be a fiction. Here, I first demonstrate how novelist George Orwell warned that such denials of objective reality are dangerous mistakes, in that they can lead to the suppression and even the atrophy of independent thought and critical evaluation. Second, anti-realists assume their opponents hold a fully reductionist metaphysics, in which fundamental physics describes the only ground truth, thereby placing it beyond direct human sensory observation. In contrast, I point to a more recent and commonly used alternative, non-reductive metaphysics. This ascribes real existence to many levels of dynamic systems of information, emerging progressively from the subatomic to the biological, psychological, social, and ecological. Within such a worldview the notion of objective reality is valid, it comes in part within the range of our senses, and thus a definition of illusions as kinds of deviations from veridical perception becomes possible again.
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Veränderungen wie der Klimawandel oder der Verlust von Artenvielfalt führen uns deutlich vor Augen, dass wir unsere Handlungsroutinen grundlegend verändern müssen. Die Herausforderung dieser Transformationsprozesse liegt für den Einzelnen wie auch für Gemeinschaften und etablierte Organisationsstrukturen in der Überwindung von Komfort-Zonen im Angesicht von Ungewissheit. Ebenso die Komplexität wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse stellt uns vor eine große Aufgabe. Informationen müssen immer wieder verglichen, aufbereitet, zugänglich gemacht und mit der Alltagsrealität verknüpft werden, um auf dieser Grundlage gemeinsam unsere Zukunftsvorstellungen aushandeln zu können. Worüber müssen wir als Gesellschaft eigentlich reden? Wie können wir unsere Kräfte bündeln und gemeinsam Handeln? In dem Projekt “Farming the Uncanny Valley” haben wir durch eine künstlerische Herangehensweise Methoden entwickelt, um Brücken zwischen akademischem Wissen und Alltagserfahrungen zu bauen sowie das eigene Handeln und Denken zu hinterfragen. Dabei bilden situative Erfahrungen die gemeinsame Grundlage für Lernerfahrungen, Selbstreflektion und gemeinschaftlichen Austausch. Dieses Buch zeigt anhand konkreter Beispiele und Praxiserfahrungen unser methodisches Vorgehen sowie die Ergebnisse der Auseinandersetzung mit dem Thema der Bioökonomie.
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Functional somatic disorders (FSD) result from a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors, the combination of which varies between individuals. Professional and academic communities recommend an integrative, biopsychosocial, and personalized approach in order to achieve early diagnosis, an appropriate understanding of predisposing, triggering, and maintaining factors, and effective treatment. In order to obtain an integrative understanding, constructing a case formulation is suggested to be an important skill for clinicians treating patients with complex health conditions—such as FSD. However, in daily practice, many clinicians are struggling to conceptualize and then implement the biopsychosocial approach into their work with children and their families. This sustains the risk of a fragmented understanding of the child’s symptoms and functioning, and consequently fragmentation of health care. As members of a multidisciplinary team of professionals who treat children and adolescents with complex FSD, we here describe and share our experience of a clinical conversational tool—the biopsychosocial board—that we use to promote communication and to achieve an integrative understanding of the patient’s symptoms. We highlight the clinician’s ability to facilitate and co-construct a biopsychosocial case formulation together with the patient and family because this in the next turn will function as a roadmap to effective and personalized treatment. Used in such a way, we find that our conversation tool has the potential to be an innovative and useful tool for broad diagnostic assessment and identification of effective treatment options tailored to the individual child.
Chapter
This chapter forms the methodology chapter of the Practicum Study. It is arranged using the Stepping-Stones model of research stages, as derived in Chap. 4. The aims of the Practicum Study are to identify the mechanisms: the policy, culture, and stakeholder position, operating within the practicum to generate the behaviours and discourse of stakeholders. A conceptual framework, providing a holistic image of a research study, is drawn using a rich picture, thus aligning with the techniques applied in Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). This image captures the problem situation, the underpinning ontology of critical realism, the background reading and the Worldview, Metaphor and Power of Social Objects (Womposo) strategy. The Womposo strategy, derived in Chap. 4, is reiterated here. The research design includes the following components: selection of jurisdictions, identification of gate keepers, and collection of data. It also includes a discussion of reliability, triangulation, and validity. Ethics approval is discussed in some detail, as it proved to be an unexpectedly tricky aspect of the research. Ethics approval procedures are examined, together with the scope of regulations, in relation to harm and anonymity, and the issue of ethics creepethics creep.
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Advocates of biotechnology affirm that the application of genetic engineering to develop transgenic crops will increase world agricultural productivity, enhance food security, and move agriculture away from a dependence on chemical inputs helping to reduce environmental problems. This paper challenges such assertions by first demystifying the Malthusian view that hunger is due to a gap between food production and human population growth. Second, we expose the fact that current bio-engineered crops are not designed to increase yields or for poor small farmers, so that they may not benefit from them. In addition, transgenic crops pose serious environmental risks, continuously underplayed by the biotechnology industry. Finally, it is concluded that there are many other agro-ecological alternatives that can solve the agricultural problems that biotechnology aims at solving, but in a much more socially equitable manner and in a more environmentally harmonious way.
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1] The Earth's shallow subsurface results from integrated biological, geochemical, and physical processes. Methods are sought to remotely assess these interactive processes, especially those catalysed by micro-organisms. Using saturated sand columns and the metal reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, we show that electrically conductive appendages called bacterial nanowires are directly associated with electrical potentials. No significant electrical potentials were detectable in columns inoculated with mutant strains that produced non-conductive appendages. Scanning electron microscopy imaging revealed a network of nanowires linking cells-cells and cells to mineral surfaces, ''hardwiring'' the entire length of the column. We hypothesize that the nanowires serve as conduits for transfer of electrons from bacteria in the anaerobic part of the column to bacteria at the surface that have access to oxygen, akin to a biogeobattery. These results advance understanding of the mechanisms of electron transport in subsurface environments and of how microorganisms cycle geologic material and share energy.
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The context of an operational description is given by the distinction between what we consider as relevant and what as irrelevant for a particular experiment or observation. A rigorous description of a context in terms of a mathematically formulated context-independent fundamental theory is possible by the restriction of the domain of the basic theory and the introduction of a new coarser topology. Such a new topology is never given by first principles, but depends in a crucial way on the abstractions made by the cognitive apparatus or the pattern recognition devices used by the experimentalist. A consistent mathematical formulation of a higher-level theory requires the closure of the restriction of the basic theory in the new contextual topology. The validity domain of the so constructed higher-level theory intersects nontrivially with the validity domain of the basic theory: neither domain is contained in the other. Therefore, higher-level theories cannot be totally ordered and theory reduction is not transitive. The emergence of qualitatively new properties is a necessary consequence of such a formulation of theory reduction (which does not correspond to the traditional one). Emergent properties are not manifest on the level of the basic theory, but they can be derived rigorously by imposing new, contextually selected topologies upon context-independent first principles. Most intertheoretical relations are mathematically describable as singular asymptotic expansions which do not converge in the topology of the primary theory, or by choosing one of the infinitely many possible, physically inequivalent representations of the primary theory (Gelfand�Naimark�Segal-construction of algebraic quantum mechanics). As examples we discuss the emergence of shadows, inductors, capacitors and resistors from Maxwell�s electrodynamics, the emergence of order parameters in statistical mechanics, the emergence of mass as a classical observable in Galilei-relativistic theories, the emergence of the shape of molecules in quantum mechanics, the emergence of temperature and other classical observables in algebraic quantum mechanics.
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The dipeptide seryl-histidine (Ser-His) catalyses the condensation of esters of amino acids, peptide fragments, and peptide nucleic acid (PNA) building blocks, bringing to the formation of peptide bonds. Di-, tri- or tetra-peptides can be formed with yields that vary from 0.5% to 60% depending on the nature of the substrate and on the conditions. Other simpler peptides as Gly-Gly, or Gly-Gly-Gly are also effective, although less efficiently. We discuss the results from the viewpoint of primitive chemistry and the origin of long macromolecules by stepwise fragment condensations.
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In Haiti, a novel approach to nutritional surveillance was developed on the basis of a low-cost, simple-to-repeat set of household surveys in all nine administrative departments using sentinel community sites. This system allows each department to independently conduct follow-up surveys as needed. The results of the first round of surveys conducted in 1995 show lower malnutrition rates in typical food-deficient departments and high levels of malnutrition in several food-surplus areas. Further analyses underscore the importance of variables related to child-care practices and of care-enabling factors such as household food security, health environment, and caregivers' time and education. These findings challenge the traditional thinking among a majority of Haitian policy makers who look at the malnutrition problem solely from the perspective of local food production.
Book
Is it possible for there to be subjectivity without a subject, for conscious states to be truly real while there is no real self or owner that has them? One step toward answering this question involves a further question: is consciousness in some sense reflexive or self-aware? The chapters in this collection investigate the linked issues of egological vs nonegological accounts of consciousness and the reflexivity of consciousness from the diverse perspectives of phenomenology, analytic philosophy, the Buddhist philosophical tradition, and the Indian school of Advaita Vedānta. The resulting dialogue illustrates the enhanced clarity that can be achieved by philosophizing across boundaries. Together the chapters lay out the full range of possible views concerning the nature of the self and proofs of its existence or non-existence, and the full spectrum of positions on the question of consciousness' allegedly self-intimating or self-illuminating nature. In doing so they help clarify just what is involved in giving an account of consciousness that takes subjectivity and the first-person perspective seriously.
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Protoplasm from Bryopsis maxima, a coenocytic green alga, was dissociated into two fractions: chloroplasts, and protoplasmic fraction without chloroplasts (PF). The protoplasmic fraction (PF) included nuclei, mitochondria, dictyosomes, endoplasmic reticuli, etc. These two fractions were reassembled and formed protoplasts, which developed into mature plants.
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A review is presented of the use of oscillating chemical reactions for analytical monitoring purposes. Several well-known oscillating reactions, e.g., the Belousov-Zabotinskii (BZ) reaction, Cu oscillators and the peroxidase-oxidase biochemical oscillator, are discussed and the analytical use of the BZ reaction and Cu oscillators, e.g., for metal ion and inorganic anion determinations, is described. The recently introduced analyte pulse perturbation technique is also discussed and its application to routine analytical monitoring, e.g., in food and pharmaceutical analysis, is described (76 references).
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Biological systems exhibit molecular handedness: During biosynthesis, predominantly L amino acids rather than D amino acids are incorporated into proteins. The origins of this handedness remain puzzling. In his Perspective, Bada discusses results reported by Cronin and Pizzarello in the same issue (p. 951) showing a slight excess of L amino acids in a well-known extraterrestrial object, the Murchison meteorite. This finding suggests the existence of an enrichment process in cosmochemical environments and could possibly be the source of molecular handedness on Earth.
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From the Proceedings of the meeting Mind and Life XII, 'What is matter, what is life?', held in Dharamsala, India, in 2002, in the presence of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
Article
The current conception of Progress is somewhat shifting and indefinite. Sometimes it comprehends little more than simple growth--as of a nation in the number of its members and the extent of territory over which it has spread. Sometimes it has reference to quantity of material products--as when the advance of agriculture and manufactures is the topic. Sometimes the superior quality of these products is contemplated: and sometimes the new or improved appliances by which they are produced. When, again, we speak of moral or intellectual progress, we refer to the state of the individual or people exhibiting it; while, when the progress of Knowledge, of Science, of Art, is commented upon, we have in view certain abstract results of human thought and action. Not only, however, is the current conception of Progress more or less vague, but it is in great measure erroneous. It takes in not so much the reality of Progress as its accompaniments--not so much the substance as the shadow. That progress in intelligence seen during the growth of the child into the man, or the savage into the philosopher, is commonly regarded as consisting in the greater number of facts known and laws understood: whereas the actual progress consists in those internal modifications of which this increased knowledge is the expression. Social progress is supposed to consist in the produce of a greater quantity and variety of the articles required for satisfying men's wants; in the increasing security of person and property; in widening freedom of action: whereas, rightly understood, social progress consists in those changes of structure in the social organism which have entailed these consequences. The current conception is a teleological one. The phenomena are contemplated solely as bearing on human happiness. Only those changes are held to constitute progress which directly or indirectly tend to heighten human happiness. And they are thought to constitute progress simply because they tend to heighten human happiness. But rightly to understand progress, we must inquire what is the nature of these changes, considered apart from our interests. Leaving out of sight concomitants and beneficial consequences, let us ask what Progress is in itself. From the earliest traceable cosmical changes down to the latest results of civilization, we shall find that the transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous, is that in which Progress essentially consists. On passing from Humanity under its individual form, to Humanity as socially embodied, we find the general law still more variously exemplified. The change from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous is displayed equally in the progress of civilization as a whole, and in the progress of every tribe or nation; and is still going on with increasing rapidity. From the law that every active force produces more than one change, it is an inevitable corollary that through all time there has been an ever-growing complication of things. Starting with the ultimate fact that every cause produces more than one effect, we may readily see that throughout creation there must have gone on, and must still go on, a never-ceasing transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous. But let us trace out this truth in detail. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Changing views of health and healing are presented as being part of a larger change of paradigms, which amounts to a profound cultural transformation. Modern scientific medicine is firmly rooted, both in theory and practice, in the mechanistic, Cartesian paradigm. In spite of the great advances of medical science in our century, the limitations of the mechanistic approach to health are now clearly visible and are manifest in the current health care crisis. At the same time, new holistic and ecological approaches to health and healing are now emerging in theory and in practice. These approaches are synthesized in this article in a new conceptual framework that provides a systems view of health based on the recently developed systems view of life. The new systems view of health is profoundly ecological, and thus in harmony with the Hippocratic tradition which lies at the roots of Western medicine.
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This review concentrates on models of chemical oscillations, which constitute the self-organization of a system in time without any accompanying organization in space. Keywords (Audience): First-Year Undergraduate / General
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History of the cerium / bromate oscillator and the awarding of the 1980 Lenin Prize. Keywords (Audience): Upper-Division Undergraduate
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The Belousov reaction provides a fascinating and easily staged lecture demonstration that is suitable for use in conjunction with discussions of free energy and spontaneity or complex reaction kinetics. Keywords (Audience): Upper-Division Undergraduate
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The natural genesis of life on Earth is a hypothesis of evolutionary science; it is the task of synthetic organic chemistry to test this hypothesis experimentally. The aim of an experimental aetiological chemistry is not primarily to delineate the pathways along which our (‘natural’) life on Earth could have originated, but to provide decisive experimental evidence, through the realization of model systems (‘artificial chemical life’), that life can arise as a result of the organization of organic matter.
Chapter
This chapter is an attempt to provide a framework of epistemology to the growing field of synthetic biology (SB). It is preliminarily argued that there are two kinds of SB, one (bioengineering SB) clearly and purposely directed towards one goal set from the start and the other kind being more concerned with basic science and responding to the basic question, “why this and not that?” They need to be considered separately from the point of view of epistemology. Some basic notions are necessary for this enterprise. One is the clarification between teleology and teleonomy in the synthetic enterprises of nature and mankind; another one is the clarification of the apparent dichotomy between reductionism and emergentism. Preliminarily, one needs an operational definition of life, and the vision given here, based on system biology and autopoiesis in particular, is one in which life is seen as a dynamic integration of parts, which have all to interact with each other in order to give rise to an emergent whole – which is life. Within this framework, SB appears at first sight as reductionism, as most of its operations are based on assembly of bio-bricks, and “cut and paste” of genomic parts, seen often like the components of an electronic circuit. However, the necessary condition to arrive at a novel form of life (the goal of SB) is the integration of parts in the complete unity, which corresponds to life as an emergent property. Emergentism is then the real basis of SB, although the researchers in the field are not always conscious of that. It is also argued that emergence is somewhat linked to bioethical problems, as novel, unexpected and in principle harmful properties may arise from the genetic manipulations. This point is discussed, emphasizing that in general epistemic considerations should be brought more and more to the attention of students as integrant part of their understanding of life sciences.
Article
Recent discoveries in science have led to the recognition that instability and creativity are inherent to our world. This has major implications for the way we perceive the universe and our place in it. In an unstable world, absolute control and precise forecasting are not possible. In this article, Ilya Prigogine traces the emergence of the new worldview provided by science, and suggests that it offers hope and new responsibility for humankind
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From the pioneering explorations of Joseph Banks (later a President of the Royal Society), to the present day, a great deal has been learnt about the extent, distribution and stability of biological diversity in the world. We now know that diverse life can be found even in the most inhospitable places. We have also learned that biological diversity changes through time over both large and small temporal scales. These natural changes track environmental conditions, and reflect ecological and evolutionary processes. However, anthropogenic activities, including overexploitation, habitat loss and climate change, are currently causing profound transformations in ecosystems and unprecedented loss of biological diversity. This series of papers considers temporal variation in biological diversity, examines the extent of human-related change relative to underlying natural change and builds on these insights to develop tools and policies to help guide us towards a sustainable future.
Article
Molecular hydrogen produced biologically from renewable biomass is an attractive replacement for fossil fuels. One potential route for biological hydrogen production is the conversion of biomass into formate, which can subsequently be processed into hydrogen by Escherichia coli. Formate is also a widely used commodity chemical, making its bioproduction even more attractive. Here we demonstrate the implementation of a formate-overproducing pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a well-established industrial organism. By expressing the anaerobic enzyme pyruvate formate lyase from E. coli, we engineered a strain of yeast that overproduced formate relative to undetectable levels in the wild type. The addition of a downstream enzyme, AdhE of E. coli, resulted in an additional 4.5-fold formate production increase as well as an increase in growth rate and biomass yield. Overall, an 18-fold formate increase was achieved in a strain background whose formate degradation pathway had been deleted. Finally, as a proof of concept, we were able to produce hydrogen from this formate-containing medium by using E. coli as a catalyst in a two-step process. With further optimizations, it may be feasible to use S. cerevisiae on a larger scale as the foundation for yeast-based biohydrogen.
Article
Tools to re-sequence the genomes of individual patients having well described medical histories is the first step required to connect genetic information to diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. There is little doubt that in the future, genomics will influence the choice of therapies for individual patients based on their specific genetic inheritance, as well as the genetic defects that led to disease. Cost is the principle obstacle preventing the realization of this vision. Unless the interesting parts of a patient genome can be resequenced for less than $10,000 (as opposed to $100,000 or more), it will be difficult to start the discovery process that will enable this vision. While instrumentation and biology are important to reducing costs, the key element to cost-effective personalized genomic sequencing will be new chemical reagents that deliver capabilities that are not available from standard DNA. Scientists at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution and the Westheimer Institute have developed several of these, which will be the topic of this talk..
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Mouse L929 cells were separated into enucleated cytoplasmic components (cytoplasts) and nucleated subcellular fractions (karyoplasts) in the presence of cytochalasin B. Karyoplasts from cells containing tritiated nuclei were fused, using inactivated Sendai virus, to cytoplasts from cells containing large (1.0-mum diameter) latex spheres in the cytoplasm. Mononucleated cells containing radioactive nuclei and large latex spheres in the cytoplasm were observed among the products of the fusion reaction. Some of these cells were in mitotic configurations. The results indicate that cells capable of undergoing mitosis can be reconstructed from the products of cellular enucleation in the presence of cytochalasin B.
Article
A. mediterranea cells capable of full morphogenesis were reassembled from nuclei, cytoplasm, and cell wall fraction. Reassembly was performed stepwise with the recombination of cytoplasm and cell walls and finally a nucleus was implanted. Reassembly of anucleate cells was carried out by means of retransplantation of their own cytoplasm or transplantation of cytoplasm from another cell. Combinations between cytoplasm and cell walls of dark or light maintained cells were prepared. The nuclei were always transferred from light maintained cells.
Article
Catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, possessing both a genotype and a phenotype, are ideal molecules for evolution experiments in vitro. A large, heterogeneous pool of RNAs can be subjected to multiple rounds of selection, amplification and mutation, leading to the development of variants that have some desired phenotype. Such experiments allow the investigator to correlate specific genetic changes with quantifiable alterations of the catalytic properties of the RNA. In addition, patterns of evolutionary change can be discerned through a detailed examination of the genotypic composition of the evolving RNA population. Beginning with a pool of 10(13) variants of the Tetrahymena ribozyme, we carried out in vitro evolution experiments that led to the generation of ribozymes with the ability to cleave an RNA substrate in the presence of Ca2+ ions, an activity that does not exist for the wild-type molecule. Over the course of 12 generations, a seven-error variant emerged that has substantial Ca(2+)-dependent RNA-cleavage activity. Advantageous mutations increased in frequency in the population according to three distinct dynamics--logarithmic, linear and transient. Through a comparative analysis of 31 individual variants, we infer how certain mutations influence the catalytic properties of the ribozyme. In vitro evolution experiments make it possible to elucidate important aspects of both evolutionary biology and structural biochemistry on a reasonable short time scale.
Article
We developed an effective strategy to restrict the amino acid usage in a relatively large protein to a reduced set with conservation of its in vivo function. The 213-residue Escherichia coli orotate phosphoribosyltransferase was subjected to 22 cycles of segment-wise combinatorial mutagenesis followed by 6 cycles of site-directed random mutagenesis, both coupled with a growth-related phenotype selection. The enzyme eventually tolerated 73 amino acid substitutions: In the final variant, 9 amino acid types (A, D, G, L, P, R, T, V, and Y) occupied 188 positions (88%), and none of 7 amino acid types (C, H, I, M, N, Q, and W) appeared. Therefore, the catalytic function associated with a relatively large protein may be achieved with a subset of the 20 amino acid. The converged sequence also implies simpler constituents for proteins in the early stage of evolution.
Article
A possible role that might have been played by ordered clusters at interfaces for the generation of homochiral oligopeptides under prebiotic conditions has been probed by a catalyzed polymerization of amphiphilic activated alpha-amino acids, in racemic and chiral non-racemic forms, which had self-assembled into two-dimensional (2D) ordered crystallites at the air-aqueous solution interface. As model systems we studied N(epsilon)-stearoyl-lysine thioethyl ester (C(18)-TE-Lys), gamma-stearyl-glutamic thioethyl ester (C(18)-TE-Glu), N(alpha)-carboxyanhydride of gamma-stearyl-glutamic acid (C(18)-Glu NCA) and gamma-stearyl-glutamic thioacid (C(18)-thio-Glu). According to in-situ grazing incidence X-ray diffraction measurements on the water surface, (R,S)-C(18)-TE-Lys, (R,S)-C(18)-TE-Glu, and (R,S)-C(18)-Glu-NCA amphiphiles self-assembled into ordered racemic 2D crystallites. Oligopeptides 2-12 units long were obtained at the air-aqueous solution interface after injection of appropriate catalysts into the water subphase. The experimental relative abundance of oligopeptides with homochiral sequence generated from (R,S)-C(18)-TE-Lys and (R,S)-C(18)-TE-Glu, as determined by mass spectrometry on enantioselectively deuterium-labeled samples, was found to be significantly larger than that obtained from (R,S) C(18)-thio-Glu which polymerizes randomly. An efficient chiral amplification was obtained in the polymerization of non-racemic mixtures of C(18)-Glu-NCA since the monomer molecules in the racemic 2D crystallites are oriented such that the reaction occurs between heterochiral molecules related by glide symmetry to yield heterochiral oligopeptides whereas the enantiomer in excess, in the enantiomorphous crystallites, yield oligopeptides of a single handedness.
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This article revisits the concept of autopoiesis and examines its relation to cognition and life. We present a mathematical model of a 3D tesselation automaton, considered as a minimal example of autopoiesis. This leads us to a thesis T1: "An autopoietic system can be described as a random dynamical system, which is defined only within its organized autopoietic domain." We propose a modified definition of autopoiesis: "An autopoietic system is a network of processes that produces the components that reproduce the network, and that also regulates the boundary conditions necessary for its ongoing existence as a network." We also propose a definition of cognition: "A system is cognitive if and only if sensory inputs serve to trigger actions in a specific way, so as to satisfy a viability constraint." It follows from these definitions that the concepts of autopoiesis and cognition, although deeply related in their connection with the regulation of the boundary conditions of the system, are not immediately identical: a system can be autopoietic without being cognitive, and cognitive without being autopoietic. Finally, we propose a thesis T2: "A system that is both autopoietic and cognitive is a living system."
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This paper examines two questions related to autopoiesis as a theory for minimal life: (i) the relation between autopoiesis and cognition; and (ii) the question as to whether autopoiesis is the necessary and sufficient condition for life. First, we consider the concept of cognition in the spirit of Maturana and Varela: in contradistinction to the representationalistic point of view, cognition is construed as interaction between and mutual definition of a living unit and its environment. The most direct form of cognition for a cell is thus metabolism itself, which necessarily implies exchange with the environment and therefore a simultaneous coming to being for the organism and for the environment. A second level of cognition is recognized in the adaptation of the living unit to new foreign molecules, by way of a change in its metabolic pattern. We draw here an analogy with the ideas developed by Piaget, who recognizes in cognition the two distinct steps of assimilation and accommodation. While assimilation is the equivalent of uptake and exchange of usual metabolites, accommodation corresponds to biological adaptation, which in turn is the basis for evolution. By comparing a micro-organism with a vesicle that uptakes a precursor for its own self-reproduction, we arrive at the conclusion that (a) the very lowest level of cognition is the condition for life, and (b) the lowest level of cognition does not reduce to the lowest level of autopoiesis. As a consequence, autopoiesis alone is only a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for life. The broader consequences of this analysis of cognition for minimal living systems are considered.
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Between the nano- and micrometre scales, the collective behaviour of matter can give rise to startling emergent properties that hint at the nexus between biology and physics.
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I survey physics theories involving parallel universes, which form a natural four-level hierarchy of multiverses allowing progressively greater diversity. Level I: A generic prediction of inflation is an infinite ergodic universe, which contains Hubble volumes realizing all initial conditions - including an identical copy of you about 10^{10^29} meters away. Level II: In chaotic inflation, other thermalized regions may have different effective physical constants, dimensionality and particle content. Level III: In unitary quantum mechanics, other branches of the wavefunction add nothing qualitatively new, which is ironic given that this level has historically been the most controversial. Level IV: Other mathematical structures give different fundamental equations of physics. The key question is not whether parallel universes exist (Level I is the uncontroversial cosmological concordance model), but how many levels there are. I discuss how multiverse models can be falsified and argue that there is a severe "measure problem" that must be solved to make testable predictions at levels II-IV.