Predictability and the Unpredictable. Life, Evolution and Behaviour

The volume gathers contributions by scientists as well as historians and philosophers of science about the subject of predictability in bioscience. A cornerstone of Western science, predictability has emancipated, along the XX Century, from the deterministic framing. Biosciences played a crucial role in this process, but they also spurred the inquiry into the nature of the unpredictable, fostering the development of new epistemic approaches to complexity. The new computational tools and the exponential growth of information in the current Big Data era are reassessing the claims of predictability in the analysis of large complex systems, such as those underlying living beings, their behavior and evolution. The book offers a critical review aimed at outlining not only the new frontiers of predictability, but especially the new configurations that the unpredictable is assuming in these research fields.


Introduction. The Culture of Predictability and the Nature of the Unpredictable: Life Sciences at the Crossroad – DAVID CECCARELLI – GIULIA FREZZA

  • I – Scales of Stochasticity Between Physical and Life Sciences From Predictability to the Theories of Change – IGNAZIO LICATA
  • Determinism and Stochasticity in Mathematical Modelling for Cell Migration – LUIGI PREZIOSI
  • On the Nature of Natural Selection – FABIO STERPETTI
  • Predicting the Genetic Loci of Past Evolution – VIRGINIE COURTIER-ORGOGOZO – ARNAUD MARTIN
  • Contingency, Laws and Random Events: Epistemic Specificities of the Neutral Theory in Ecology – PHILIPPE HUNEMAN
  • II – Predictability from Biology to Neuroscience and Biomedicine: Are They So Predictable After All?
  • Uncompromising Empiricism Once Again: Big Data and the Case of Numerical Taxonomy – BARBARA CONTINENZA
  • Big Data and Biological Knowledge – MAËL MONTÉVIL – GIUSEPPE LONGO
  • Epigenetics and Development in Cognitive Functions: Literacy as a Case-Study – CARMELA MORABITO
  • “Decline” vs. “Plasticity”: Conflicting Narratives in the Dementia Tsunami – GIULIA FREZZA
  • III – The Evolutionary Unpredictability: Past and Future
  • Orthogenetic Predictability: Orderliness and Symmetry in Early Macroevolutionary Explanations – DAVID CECCARELLI
  • Synthesis and Behaviour: a New Role for Selection – SARA CAMPANELLA
  • Seinesgleichen geschieht: Contemporary Challenges to Evolutionary Contingency – SILVIA CAIANIELLO
  • Interspecific Cultural Convergences (ICC) and Interspecific Cultural Studies (ICS): From the Only Human Towards a Comparative History of Animal Uses and Traditions – MARCO CELENTANO
  • On the Contingency of What Matters: Predictability and Evolutionary Ethics – ELEONORA SEVERINI
  • Estimations, Plans, Narratives: How non-Human Animals Deal with the Future and “Possible Worlds” – DARIO MARTINELLI

Predictability and the Unpredictable. Life, Evolution and Behaviour

Curatore: David Ceccarelli, Giulia Frezza
Lingua: Inglese
CNR Edizioni
Filosofia e saperi, n. 10
Roma, 2018
ISBN: 9788880803133