• Home

Life Itself: A Relational Theory

Presenter: Dr. John J. Kineman in collaboration with Ms. Judith Rosen

Participation: All are welcome. By advance arrangement, a limited number of papers and/or presentations may be contributed to this session on topics that directly support the workshop agenda. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Description: Robert Rosen claimed that the existence of life could be explained by objectifying closed causal relations. This is quite a different approach from explaining life in terms of behavior alone. It identifies life with the way a system is "organized" across all levels of causation. In his book "Life Itself" Rosen described the minimum organizational structure of relations between natural causes that could be called alive. His study of life followed along two lines of reasoning: (1) that causal organization can be described in Mathematics prior to quantification (Category Theory), and (2) that all living systems involve "Modeling Relations" that are "anticipatory". He did not integrate these two tracks in his work, but left that to his followers. He did, however, give many hints on how to do it, one being his diagram of a "Metabolism-Repair (M-R) System", another his concept of “modeling relations”. He explained that such systems cannot exist within the mathematical restrictions we adopted to describe a strictly mechanistic world (the Modernist view). There is a great deal we can learn about nature from this initial work; and following Rosen's leads we can also move forward with developing a relational theory and method of holistic analysis for all systems. In this half-day workshop we will examine the initial steps in that development.

Relevant information

  • Click here for further information on the conference
  • The registration is now open: https://webapps.unitn.it/Apply/en/Web/Home/convegni
  • Session’s speakers should register and pay the conference fee:
    • Early registration (before 1 September 2015): € 150
    • Late registration (from 1 September 2015): € 200

Important dates

  • Abstract submission: 15 June 2015
  • Final program: 30 June 2015
  • Early registration: Before 1 September 2015
  • Deadline registration: 20 October 2015




Project Anticipation

Department of Sociology and Social Research

26, Verdi Street, 38122 Trento (TN) Italy


+39 0461 281403

© Copyright - Project Anticipation
The Project Anticipation is responsible for the choice and presentation of views contained in this website and for opinions expressed therein,
which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.


In order to provide you with the best online experience this website uses cookies. Learn more

I understand