République des Savoirs

Laboratoire transdisciplinaire du CNRS, ENS et du Collège de France

Colloque international « Open Historicity of Life. Theory, epistemology, practice »

Détails de l’événement

Cet événement s’est terminé le 10 novembre 2023

Colloque international

« Open Historicity of Life. Theory, epistemology, practice »

9 & 10 novembre 2023



Adresse :
ENS – 45, rue d’Ulm – 75005 Paris
Salle Dussane

Organisé par
Marie Chollat-Namy, Maël Montévil et Anton Robert

Participants :
Stuart Kauffman, Giuseppe Longo, Armand Hatchuel, Pascal Le Masson, Maël Montévil, Andrea Loettgers, Tarja Knuuttila, Marina Cortes, Alessandro Sarti, Paul Antoine Miquel, Andrea Roli, Sélène Domino, Johanes Jäger, Marie Chollat-Namy, Anton Robert, Mathilde Tahar
In the theory of evolution, the forms of life change, and these changes are critical for the understanding of living beings. However, the nature of these changes, and the way to understand them, remains a matter of open discussion. In the XIXth century, physics, especially classical mechanics, was the paradigm of science, and physics understands change as a displacement in an abstract mathematical space. This method has been imported into biology, for example, in population genetics; however, philosophers, notably Bergson, called into question the notion that things (always) exist as a possibility before they become actual. Bergson concludes that there are limits to our ability to understand living being that is intrinsic to mathematics and come from the creativity of evolution. To our knowledge, the only field of biology that built explicitly on this notion is phylogenetic systematics — however this field also has very specific purposes.

In the last decade, the notion that new possibilities appear over time in biological phenomena has received renewed and growing attention. Kauffman approaches it as the adjacent possible, Sarti and Citti as heterogenesis, and Longo and Montévil as symmetry change and specific objects. Accordingly, there is a growing understanding that this notion is a significant shift and challenge in the way to do science.

However, there has yet to be a systematic effort to bring together the different perspectives on this question in biology and in other fields confronted with it. In this conference, we intend to create bridges between the different perspectives that have been developed, mostly independently, on the question of changing possibility spaces in biology. We aim to discuss the status of this notion: Do new possibilities appear by principle, or can their existence be proven? The second major topic of discussion will be the scientific possibilities and limits that this notion leads to. In particular, can it be captured by existing mathematics, new mathematics, something somewhat different, or no theoretical construct at all? In general, what kind of scientific practice does this question open?



N O V E M B E R 9

— 9h30 — Introduction

— The question of possibility in biology —

(Chair: Marie Chollat-Namy)

— 09h45 — Sélène Domino
Can there be new biological possibilities in Systematics?
Institut de Systématique, Évolution et Biodiversité (ISYEB), french National Museum of Natural History and Institut d’Histoire and Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST), University Paris 1.

— 10h20 — Andrea Roli
A cybernetic perspective of evolution
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Campus of Cesena, Università di Bologna.

— 10h55 — Coffee Break

— 11h10 — Giuseppe Longo
Twenty years after the 2001 and 2003 lectures on “changing phase spaces” in Biology, the challenge of “novelty production”
Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs UAR3608, École Normale Supérieure (ENS), CNRS, Paris.

— 11h45 — Discussion

— Lunch break (12h15-14h) —

— Theoretical frameworks
accommodating new possibilities —

(Chair: Ana Soto)

— 14h — Alessandro Sarti
Beyond possibility spaces: heterogenesis and meaning
Centre d’analyse et de mathématique sociales (CAMS), École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris.

— 14h35 — Stuart Kauffman
A Third Transition in Science
Affiliate Professor, Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle.

— 15h10 — Maël Montévil
Mathematical spaces and biological objects
Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs UAR3608, École Normale Supérieure (ENS), CNRS, Paris.

— 15h45— Discussion

— 16h15 — Coffee Break

General Discussion
— The question of possibility spaces in biology —
(Chair: Mathilde Tahar)
— 16h30— Discussion (with the participation of Johannes Jaeger)

— Dinner —

— — — — — —

N O V E M B E R 10

— Views across disciplines —

(Chair: Anton Robert)

— 09h30 ¬— Armand Hatchuel & Pascal Le Masson
How can contemporary design science contribute to the theoretical foundations of biology ?
Centre de Gestion Scientifique, Mines Paris, PSL.

— 10h20 — Marina Cortes
There will be no absolute truths left in the study of reality.
Institute for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of Lisbon

— 10h55 — Coffee Break

— 11h10 — Andrea Loettgers & Tarja Knuuttila
The combinatorial possibilities of synthetic biology
Philosophy Department at the University of Vienna.

— 11h45 — Discussion

— Lunch break (12h15-14h) —

— Practical and philosophical perspectives
to move forward —

(Chair: Carlos Sonnenschein)

— 14h — Marie Chollat-Namy
Perspectives on Anti-entropy as the reconfiguration dynamic of historicity
Post-doc, Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs UAR 3608, École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris.

Anton Robert
Physical arguments for an epistemology of new possibilities via a methodical deconstruction of biophysical models
PhD student, Centre Cavaillès, République des Savoirs UAR 3608, École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris.

— 14h35 — Mathilde Tahar
How to account for the unpredictability of evolution?
Laboratoire Savoirs Textes, Langage, University of Lille

— 15h10 — Paul-Antoine Miquel
Novelty in biological systems
Équipe de recherche sur les rationalités philosophiques et les savoirs (ERRAPHIS), Université Jean-Jaurès, Toulouse.

— 15h45 — Discussion

— 16h15 — Coffee Break

General Discussion
— Practical and theoretical perspectives for the future —
(Chair: Maël Montévil)
— 16h30— Discussion