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Are self-organizing biochemical networks emergent?

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Publication Date
Keywords
  • Biology
  • Reductionism/Holism
Disciplines
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics

Abstract

Biochemical networks are often called upon to illustrate emergent properties of living systems. In this contribution, I question such emergentist claims by means of theoretical work on genetic regulatory models and random Boolean networks. If the existence of a critical connectivity Kc of such networks has often been coined “emergent” or “irreducible”, I propose on the contrary that the existence of a critical connectivity Kc is indeed mathematically explainable in network theory. This conclusion also applies to many other types of formal networks and weakens the emergentist claim attached to bio-molecular networks, and by extension to living systems.

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