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living systemlebendes System (ger.)

  • Organism.
    the influence exerted by dead parts of the animal body when they act as stimuli to the living system
    Anonymus (1774). Medical News. Medical and Philosophical Commentaries 2, 198-216: 200.
    To a naturalist, as well as to a metaphysician, the living system is a constant miracle
    Sulivan, R.J. (1794). A View of Nature. In Letters to a Traveller Among the Alps, vol. 3: 465.
    eine genauere Kenntniß des Einflusses der unbelebten Körper auf das lebende System

    Brown, J. (1796). System der Heilkunde (transl. C.H. Pfaff): 367; cf. also Horn, E. (1800). Beiträge zur medizinischen Klinik, vol. 2: 425.

    every living system is protected and preserved from decomposition and decay
    Saumariez, R. (1799). [On generation and the principle of life]. Medical and Physical Journal 2, 242-247; 321-326: 325.
    lebendiges System von Trieben
    Fichte, J.G. (1801). Darstellung der Wissenschaftslehre (Sämmtliche Werke, vol. II, Berlin 1845-46, 1-163): 130 (II, §41, 4).

    The living system: determinism stratified

    Weiss, P. A. (1969). The living system: determinism stratified. Studium Generale 22, 361-400.


    An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components that produces the components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in the space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network. It follows that an autopoietic machine continuously generates and specifies its own organization through its operation as a system of production of its own components […] the notion of autopoiesis is necessary and sufficient to characterize the organization of living systems.

    Maturana, H.R. & Varela, F.J. (1972). De máquinas y seres vivos (engl. Autopoiesis and Cognition. The Realization of the Living, Dordrecht 1980 = Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 42): 76-7.


    We propose to define living systems as those that are (1) composed of bounded micro-environments in thermodynamic disequilibrium with their surroundings, (2) capable of transforming energy to maintain their low-entropy states, and (3) able to replicate structurally distinct copies of themselves from an instructional code perpetuated indefinitely through time despite the demise of the individual carrier through which it is transmitted

    Schulze-Makuch, D., Guan, H., Irwin, L.N., & Vega, E. (2002). Redefining life: an ecological, thermodynamic and bioinformatic approach. In: Palyi, G., Zucchi, C. & Caglioti, L. (eds.). Fundamentals of Life, 169-179: 169.


    A living system is a system capable of self-production and self-maintenance through a regenerative network of processes which takes place within a boundary of its own making and regenerates itself through cognitive or adaptive interactions with the medium

    Damiano, L. & Luisi, P.L. (2010). Towards an autopoietic redefinition of life. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 40, 145-149: 149.