Cognitive Biology: Dealing with Information from Bacteria to Minds

ISBN : 9780199608485

Gennaro Auletta
880 ページ
195 x 252 mm

Providing a new conceptual scaffold for further research in biology and cognition, this book introduces the new field of Cognitive Biology: a systems biology approach showing that further progress in this field will depend on a deep recognition of developmental processes, as well as on the consideration of the developed organism as an agent able to modify and control its surrounding environment. The role of cognition, the means through which the organism is able to cope with its environment, cannot be underestimated. In particular, it is shown that this activity is grounded on a theory of information based on Bayesian probabilities. The organism is considered as a cybernetic system able to integrate a processor as a source of variety (the genetic system), a regulator of its own homeostasis (the metabolic system), and a selecting system separating the self from the non-self (the membrane in unicellular organisms). Any organism is a complex system that can survive only if it is able to maintain its internal order against the spontaneous tendency towards disruption. Therefore, it is forced to monitor and control its environment and so to establish feedback circuits resulting in co-adaptation. Cognitive and biological processes are shown to be inseparable.


1. Quantum Mechanics as a General Framework
2. Classical and Quantum Information and Entropy
3. The Brain: An Outlook
4. Vision
5. Dealing with Target's Motion and Our Own Movement
6. Complexity: A Necessary Condition
7. General Features of Life
8. The Organism as a Semiotic and Cybernetic System
9. Phylogeny
10. Ontogeny
11. Epigeny
12. Representational Semiotics
13. The Brain as an Information-Control System
14. Decisional, Emotional and Cognitive Systems
15. Behavior
16. Learning
17. Memory
18. The Basic Symbolic Systems
19. What Symbols Are
20. Intentionality and Conceptualization
21. Consciousness
22. Development and Culture
23. Language
24. Mind and Brain (Body)
25. Final Philosophical Remarks


Gennaro Auletta is Aggregate Professor in the Gregorian University, Researcher in the Cassino University, and Scientific Director of the STOQ Project. He is also visiting professor in the University of Notre Dame, associate of the Faraday Institute of the Cambridge University, and member of the Linnean Society of London. After taking his degree in philosophy at La Sapienza University in Rome he took his Ph.D and his Postdoc in Philosophy at the same university. His philosophical interests are logic, philosophy of nature (with special connections with quantum mechanics and biology), philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. In science, his main interests are in quantum mechanics (quantum information, foundations, interpretation). For the last ten years his research interests have addressed issues in the treatment of information by biological systems (from bacteria to human brain), in cognitive neurosciences.