Formal considerations on the origin of life

Salthe, Stanley N. “Formal considerations on the origin of life.” Uroboros 1, no. 1 (1991): 45-65.

It has often been proposed that the world has a fundamentally hierarchical structure (e.g., Alexander 1920; Shapeley 1958; Bonner 1969; Salthe 1985; Troncale 1985; Alvarez de Lorenzana 1993). The structure proposed is that of embedded parts and wholes, representable by scale-labelled classes called “levels”, whose members are individual holons (part-wholes) of common scale. Scale can perhaps most easily be estimated from the magnitudes of the relaxation times of processes found at different levels. Size contributes as well in the sense that if something is small enough to be embedded in something else, it will be of smaller scale than the latter if their dynamics do not simply interact.

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