Abstract: Some observations are presented starting with the well-known article by Vladimir Fock “Quantum Physics and Philosophical Problems”, published in 1971. In this article, which summarizes for Western readers a long and complicated reflection of the foundations of quantum mechanics (QM), Fock illustrates his “minimal” interpretation of this theory. By minimal, we mean that it only uses concepts related to the operational aspects of the measurement procedures, avoiding any mention of definite quantum ontologies (Bell’s beables). It is argued that, by taking into account the time reversal invariance of the microscopic processes and introducing the notion of irreversibility in an appropriate manner, Fock’s description becomes an anticipation of the “transaction” notion introduced by Cramer a decade later. So, the concept of “collapse” does retain the features of a QM “freak” postulate to become a new way to look at the elementary quantum processes.
Abstract: Different accounts have been given in order to face the problem of the emergence of musical consonance and dissonance. Getting a more adequate comprehension of such phenomenology may require a systemic view to integrate such multidimensionality into a unitary picture in which every partial solution enlightens a particular aspect of the very same problem. Such a systemic viewpoint shifts the focus from different explanations to analytic dimensions that seem to be embedded in music perception. Taking into consideration these dimensions means understanding consonance and dissonance in an embodied context, in which arithmetic, physics, psychology and physiology are part of a complex anddynamic process of understanding, which is not reducible to any privileged explanatory level.
Abstract: A system is something that can be separated from its surrounds, but this definition leaves much scope for refinement. Starting with the notion of measurement, we explore increasingly contextual system behaviour and identify three major forms of contextuality that might be exhibited by a system: (1) between components; (2) between system and experimental method; and (3) between a system and its environment. Quantum theory is shown to provide a highly useful formalism from which all three forms of contextuality can be analysed, offering numerous tests for contextual behaviour, as well as modelling possibilities for systems that do indeed display it. I conclude with the introduction of a contextualised general systems theory based on an extension of this formalism
Abstract: In this review I show that four major kinds of theoretical approaches have been used to explain the scaling of metabolic rate in cells, organisms and groups of organisms in relation to system size. They include models focusing on surface-area related fluxes of resources and wastes (including heat), internal resource transport, system composition, and various processes affecting resource demand, all of which have been discussed extensively for nearly a century or more. I argue that, although each of these theoretical approaches has been applied to multiple levels of biological organization, none of them alone can fully explain the rich diversity of metabolic scaling relationships, including scaling exponents (log-log slopes) that vary from ~0 to >1. Furthermore, I demonstrate how a synthetic theory of metabolic scaling can be constructed by including the context-dependent action of each of the above modal effects. This “contextual multimodal theory” (CMT) posits that various modulating factors (including metabolic level, surface permeability, body shape, modes of thermoregulation and resource-transport, and other internal and external influences) affect the mechanistic expression of each theoretical module. By involving the contingent operation of several mechanisms, the “meta-mechanistic” CMT differs from most metabolic scaling theories that are deterministically mechanistic. The CMT embraces a systems view of life, and as such recognizes the open, dynamic nature and complex hierarchical and interactive organization of biological systems, and the importance of multiple (upward, downward and reciprocal) causation, biological regulation of resource supply and demand and their interaction, and contingent internal (system) and external (environmental) influences on metabolic scaling, all of which are discussed. I hope that my heuristic attempt at building a unifying theory of metabolic scaling will not only stimulate further testing of all of the various subtheories composing it, but also foster an appreciation that many current models are, at least in part, complementary or even synergistic, rather than antagonistic. Further exploration about how the scaling of the rates of metabolism and other biological processes are interrelated should also provide the groundwork for formulating a general metabolic theory of biology.
Abstract: Both the slope and elevation of scaling relationships between log metabolic rate and log body size vary taxonomically and in relation to physiological or developmental state, ecological lifestyle and environmental conditions. Here I discuss how the recently proposed metabolic-level boundaries hypothesis (MLBH) provides a useful conceptual framework for explaining and predicting much, but not all of this variation. This hypothesis is based on three major assumptions: (1) various processes related to body volume and surface area exert state-dependent effects on the scaling slope for metabolic rate in relation to body mass; (2) the elevation and slope of metabolic scaling relationships are linked; and (3) both intrinsic (anatomical, biochemical and physiological) and extrinsic (ecological) factors can affect metabolic scaling. According to the MLBH, the diversity of metabolic scaling relationships occurs within physical boundary limits related to body volume and surface area. Within these limits, specific metabolic scaling slopes can be predicted from the metabolic level (or scaling elevation) of a species or group of species. In essence, metabolic scaling itself scales with metabolic level, which is in turn contingent on various intrinsic and extrinsic conditions operating in physiological or evolutionary time. The MLBH represents a “meta-mechanism” or collection of multiple, specific mechanisms that have contingent, state-dependent effects. As such, the MLBH is Darwinian in approach (the theory of natural selection is also meta-mechanistic), in contrast to currently influential metabolic scaling theory that is Newtonian in approach (i.e., based on unitary deterministic laws). Furthermore, the MLBH can be viewed as part of a more general theory that includes other mechanisms that may also affect metabolic scaling.
Abstract: We present an approach (and a corresponding system design) for supporting regionally bound hybrid learning communities (i.e., communities which combine traditional face-to-face elements with web based media such as online community platforms, e-mail and SMS newsletters). The goal of the example community used to illustrate the approach was to support and motivate (especially hard-to-reach underprivileged) parents in the education of their young children. The article describes the design process used and the challenges faced during the socio-technical system design. An analysis of the community over more than one year indicates that the hybrid approach works better than the two separated “traditional” approaches separately. Synergy effects like advertising effects from the offline trainings for the online platform and vice versa occurred and regular newsletters turned out to have a noticeable effect on the community.