Vital Organization in Bergson and in Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics

Technical ParadigmsThis paper discusses a Bergsonian concept of organization in the context of the thermodynamics of living systems. It is argued that the concept of organization represents the most basic synthesis of the two fundamental features of living systems—metabolism and homeostasis—and that it must become the center of the ontology of life for this reason.

The relationship between living and non-living systems is then characterized at this basic level, first by describing the thermodynamic and physico-chemical laws underlying the process of organization (metabolism), and then by describing exactly how life becomes qualitatively distinct from non-life through this same process (homeostasis).

It is claimed that the origin of ‘subjectivity,’ of an ‘inside’ or of ‘experience’ must be found at this point of vital emergence. The paper concludes by considering how the concept of organization thus elaborated can reconfigure the ontology of the human organism.

Autor: James DiFrisco.

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