In Timothy E. Eastman & Henry Keeton (eds.), Physics and Whitehead: Quantum, Process and Experience. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 63-73 (2003)

Joseph E. Earley
Georgetown University
Origin of a dissipative structure in a chemical dynamic system: occurs under the following constraints: 1) Affinity must be high. (The system must be far from equilibrium.); 2) There must be an auto-catalytic process; 3) A process that reduces the concentration of the auto-catalyst must operate; 4) The relevant parameters (rate constants, etc.) must lie in a range corresponding to a limit cycle trajectory. That is, there must be closure of the network of reaction such that a state sufficiently close to the prior condition is achieved at the corresponding part of each oscillation. If these constraints continue to be met interactions of the system with the rest of the world are quite different in the presence of the dissipative structure than they would be in the absence of that self-organized coherence. Closure of a network of relationships which gives rise to a dissipative structure is a 'unit-determining' feature. The effects of the structure as a whole are the resultants of the effects of the components, but the concentrations of the components at any instant are effects of the closure of the limit cycle. This is an influence on components arising from what those components constitute --- downward causation.
Keywords closure  dissipative structure  limit cycle  coherence  chemical substance  process philosophy  philosophy of chemistry  downward causation  emergence  autocatalysis
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