Allen & Hoekstra, Toward a Unified Ecology


p. 164}    James Miller’s “living systems theory


A “process organized approach which identifies the critical things that need to be done.”




electro-magnetic wave Emergent qualities or properties are those observed characteristics that cannot be predicted from the existing level of analysis. What this emergent property means, for example, is that the behavior of atoms would in no particular causal sense lead one to understand the existence of cells or organs and their functional capacities, even though atoms comprise cells and cells are the building blocks of organs and entire organ systems such as the cardiovascular system.


Irreducible characteristics that arise –nonetheless– out of an existing arrangement of functioning parts. A vague assertion in that by knowing the anatomy and physiology of one entity such as the central nervous system one is not able to discern the capacity of that system for creating thoughts. Similarly by knowing the anatomy of the throat, larynx, tongue, and neck musculature one cannot predict the existence of speech, language, or aural to oral communication.


See: "Emergent Properties" Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Stanford University.

"For example, Ilya Prigogine, of the Center for Complex Quantum Systems at the University of Texas, Austin, has studied emergent properties, suggesting that they offer analogues for living systems. The theories of autopoiesis of Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana are a further development in this field."

"Systems Theory," Academic Room

Any organism’s emergent properties:

  physical discreteness (individual construction-- separate from a society or colony of similar bacteria, animals & plants)

  genetic homogeneity

  recognizable physiological subsystems (olfactory, reproductive, endocrine)

  coordination of parts to the whole {pituitary, hypothalamus, thalamus, CNS}

  irritability, or response to external (outside) stimuli

  reproduction with certain genetic consistency




related quantitative contexts


scale & density

genetic drift & chance

flow diagrams

timing & feedback

rates of change

doubling time
half life


* * *


 Comparison  of  output  problem:


250 mw reactor can supply the electrical needs of 300,000 persons / 35-40 years.




since  1 mw   serves  1200   people 19,200 people are serviced by the biomass plant.}