"The theory that life is maintained by some special force that cannot be explained by the principles of physics and chemistry" (J.Z. YOUNG, 1974, p.300).
As noted by YOUNG, this theory was closely related to DRIESCH's entelechy.
It was a purely verbalist pseudo-explanation, but it had the merit to consider living beings specificity and to trigger a controversy which led in a first step to BERTALANFFYand WOODGER's organicism, and from there to the concept of system, which emphasized the importance of internal interrelations and organization.
Later on, MATURANA and VARELA's organizational closure, and EIGEN's Hypercycle introduced a clearer explanation for the maintenance of organization in living systems. On the other hand, PRIGOGINE showed that a correct extension of thermodynamics to open systems, especially those faraway from equilibrium, could constitute a physical explanation of the evolution of life.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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