Ontic Openness And Hierarchies

The above shows the necessity of an extended view of biological systems focusing on the property of heterogeneity and order at the same time. The pertinent mechanisms are encompassed within Elsasser's four principles, but already here the pitfall of a return to reductionism was pointed out. Rather, let us begin with an assumption that includes as given the genetic-level apparatus.

It is easy to see from the composition of nucleic acids or triplet codes that the genome combinatorics will exhibit immense numbers. These are also the numbers reached in calculations by Jorgensen et al. (1995) and the many attempts that have followed to calculate an exergy index for ecosystems based on the information content of the genome. Ontic openness is definitely a reality at this level.

Patten later suggested another hierarchical level in addition to the genotype and phenotype levels, namely and the exosomatic envirotype reflecting that an organism's genetic template and physiological manifestation is only realized with respect to its ultimate surroundings and the ecosystems, respectively. Recently, Nielsen (in press) has extended this view by adding a semiotic level above (Figure 3.3). This layer includes all

Sense & action

Selection, variation adaptation

Semiotype?

Functionality /

Envirotype

Selection, variation adaptation

â– Phenotype f

Diversity

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