The web of life: a new scientific understanding of living systems
The vitality and accessibility of Fritjof Capra's ideas have made him perhaps the most eloquent spokesperson of the latest findings emerging at the frontiers of scientific, social, and philosophical thought. In his international bestsellersThe Tao of PhysicsandThe Turning Point,he juxtaposed physics and mysticism to define a new vision of reality. InThe Web of Life,Capra takes yet another giant step, setting forth a new scientific language to describe interrelationships and interdependence of psychological, biological, physical, social, and cultural phenomena--the "web of life." During the past twenty-five years, scientists have challenged conventional views of evolution and the organization of living systems and have developed new theories with revolutionary philosophical and social implications. Fritjof Capra has been at the forefront of this revolution. InThe Web of Life,Capra offers a brilliant synthesis of such recent scientific breakthroughs as the theory of complexity, Gaia theory, chaos theory, and other explanations of the properties of organisms, social systems, and ecosystems. Capra's surprising findings stand in stark contrast to accepted paradigms of mechanism and Darwinism and provide an extraordinary new foundation for ecological policies that will allow us to build and sustain communities without diminishing the opportunities for future generations. Now available in paperback for the first time,The Web of Lifeis cutting-edge science writing in the tradition of James Gleick'sChaos,Gregory Bateson'sMind and Matter,and Ilya Prigogine'sOrder Out of Chaos. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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This is my first exposure to Fritjof Capra, and I am greatly impressed with his ability to put the concept of networks in a context that applies to organisms, ecosystems, human social structures, economies and the Earth as self organizing and self perpetuating structures. He presents these structures as networks described by nonlinear mathematics, chaos theory and fractal geometry, in an exciting and understandable way. There are far reaching implications that may be drawn from the concept of the emergence of new and unpredictable levels of organization in systems far from equilibrium. I would say this is a must read for any student of the philosophy of science.
It has changed my perspective in interesting ways, and given me a banquet of new ideas.
Review: The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living SystemsUser Review - Goodreads
I've read and re-read this book about 3 times over the last 10 years. I love how its description of systems thinking parallels the systems thinking I studied during my doctorate in Relationship Counseling. Capra's chapter on "Dissipative Structures" is still on of my favorites.
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