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Journal cover: foresight


ISSN: 1463-6689

Online from: 1999

Subject Area: Strategy

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Robert Rosen's anticipatory systems

Document Information:
Title:Robert Rosen's anticipatory systems
Author(s):A.H. Louie, (A.H. Louie is a mathematical biologist based in Ottawa, Canada.)
Citation:A.H. Louie, (2010) "Robert Rosen's anticipatory systems", foresight, Vol. 12 Iss: 3, pp.18 - 29
Keywords:Biology, Philosophical concepts, Research
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/14636681011049848 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The author gave two sessions of a tutorial on anticipatory systems at FuMee 1 (2008) in Rovereto, Italy. This article is a condensation and transcription into prose of these sessions' PowerPoint slides. The subject is Robert Rosen's Anticipatory Systems. The author's role is that of an expositor, so what is new in this article is the author's and not the scientific content itself, the originality of which, naturally, belongs to Rosen. Aristotle said: “When a thing has been said once it is hard to say it differently”. Some repetition of what Rosen has already written (which is worthy of repetition in any case) is unavoidable. Let the acknowledgement “Robert Rosen said it first” be the disclaimer. The compilation, interpretation, and delivery contained in these two tutorial sessions and hence this article, however, are the author's.

PurposeThis article aims to be an expository introduction to Robert Rosen's anticipatory systems, the theory of which provides the conceptual basis for foresight studies.

Design/methodology/approachThe ubiquity of anticipatory systems in nature is explained.

FindingsCausality is not violated by anticipatory systems, and teleology is an integral aspect of science.

Practical implicationsA terse exposition for a general readership, such as the present article, by definition cannot get into too many details. For further exploration the reader is referred to the recent book More than Life Itself by the author.

Originality/valueThe topic of anticipatory systems in particular, and methods of relational biology in general, provide important tools for foresight studies. It is the author's hope that this brief glimpse into the world of relational biology piques the interest of some readers to pursue the subject further.

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