Even the simplest known living organisms are complex chemical processing systems. But how sophisticated is the behaviour that arises from this? We present a framework in which even bacteria can be identified as capable of representing information in arbitrary signal molecules, to facilitate altering their behaviour to optimise their food supplies, for example. Known as Abstraction/Representation theory (AR theory), this framework makes precise the relationship between physical systems and abstract concepts. Originally developed to answer the question of when a physical system is computing, AR theory naturally extends to the realm of biological systems to bring clarity to questions of computation at the cellular level.
@inproceedings(Horsman2017-biocomp, author = "Dominic Horsman and Viv Kendon and Susan Stepney and J. P. W. Young", title = "Abstraction and Representation in Living Organisms: When Does a Biological System Compute?", pages = "91-116", doi = "10.1007/978-3-319-43784-2_6", crossref = "Dodig-Crnkovic-2017" ) @proceedings(Dodig-Crnkovic-2017, editor = "Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic and Raffaela Giovagnoli", title = "Representation and Reality in Humans, Other Living Organisms and Intelligent Machines", booktitle = "Representation and Reality in Humans, Other Living Organisms and Intelligent Machines", series = "Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics (SAPERE)", number = "28", publisher = "Springer", year = 2017 )