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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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Towards a general theory of evolution

Towards a general theory of evolution

(p.121) Chapter 12 Towards a general theory of evolution
Living machines

Terrence W. Deacon

Oxford University Press

Towards a general theory of evolution argues that defining natural selection in terms of “blind variation and selective retention”— as in A-life and replicator selection—ignores the fact that what varies is necessarily part of a far-from-equilibrium physical system that requires physical work to be produced. But natural selection theory is agnostic about the physical-chemical mechanisms underlying the maintenance, repair, and reproduction of organism structures and functions. A more general theory of evolution is proposed that includes an account of a type of process able to reconstitute the organization of the physical system capable of producing that process if damaged.

Keywords:   evolution, natural selection, replicator, self-organization, thermodynamics, far-from-equilibrium, biosemiotics, teleology, dynamical system, artificial-life

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