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Matteo Mossio
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
  1. Biological Autonomy: A Philosophical and Theoretical Enquiry.Alvaro Moreno & Matteo Mossio - 2015 - Dordrecht: Springer. Edited by Matteo Mossio.
    Since Darwin, Biology has been framed on the idea of evolution by natural selection, which has profoundly influenced the scientific and philosophical comprehension of biological phenomena and of our place in Nature. This book argues that contemporary biology should progress towards and revolve around an even more fundamental idea, that of autonomy. Biological autonomy describes living organisms as organised systems, which are able to self-produce and self-maintain as integrated entities, to establish their own goals and norms, and to promote the (...)
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  2. An organizational account of biological functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
    In this paper, we develop an organizational account that defines biological functions as causal relations subject to closure in living systems, interpreted as the most typical example of organizationally closed and differentiated self-maintaining systems. We argue that this account adequately grounds the teleological and normative dimensions of functions in the current organization of a system, insofar as it provides an explanation for the existence of the function bearer and, at the same time, identifies in a non-arbitrary way the norms that (...)
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  3. What makes biological organisation teleological?Matteo Mossio & Leonardo Bich - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1089-1114.
    This paper argues that biological organisation can be legitimately conceived of as an intrinsically teleological causal regime. The core of the argument consists in establishing a connection between organisation and teleology through the concept of self-determination: biological organisation determines itself in the sense that the effects of its activity contribute to determine its own conditions of existence. We suggest that not any kind of circular regime realises self-determination, which should be specifically understood as self-constraint: in biological systems, in particular, self-constraint (...)
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  4.  99
    Biological regulation: controlling the system from within.Leonardo Bich, Matteo Mossio, Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo & Alvaro Moreno - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):237-265.
    Biological regulation is what allows an organism to handle the effects of a perturbation, modulating its own constitutive dynamics in response to particular changes in internal and external conditions. With the central focus of analysis on the case of minimal living systems, we argue that regulation consists in a specific form of second-order control, exerted over the core regime of production and maintenance of the components that actually put together the organism. The main argument is that regulation requires a distinctive (...)
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  5. Glycemia Regulation: From Feedback Loops to Organizational Closure.Leonardo Bich, Matteo Mossio & Ana M. Soto - 2020 - Frontiers in Physiology 11.
    Endocrinologists apply the idea of feedback loops to explain how hormones regulate certain bodily functions such as glucose metabolism. In particular, feedback loops focus on the maintenance of the plasma concentrations of glucose within a narrow range. Here, we put forward a different, organicist perspective on the endocrine regulation of glycaemia, by relying on the pivotal concept of closure of constraints. From this perspective, biological systems are understood as organized ones, which means that they are constituted of a set of (...)
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  6.  40
    Conserving Functions across Generations: Heredity in Light of Biological Organization.Matteo Mossio & Gaëlle Pontarotti - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):249-278.
    We develop a conceptual framework that connects biological heredity and organization. We refer to heredity as the cross-generation conservation of functional elements, defined as constraints subject to organizational closure. While hereditary objects are functional constituents of biological systems, any other entity that is stable across generations—and possibly involved in the recurrence of phenotypes—belongs to their environment. The central outcome of the organizational perspective consists in extending the scope of heredity beyond the genetic domain without merging it with the broad category (...)
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  7.  13
    Organization in Biology.Matteo Mossio (ed.) - 2023 - Springer.
    This open access book assesses the prospects of (re)adopting organization as a pivotal concept in biology. It shows how organization can nourish biological thinking and practice, by reconnecting with the idea of biology as the science of organized systems. The book provides a comprehensive state-of-the-art picture of the characterizations and uses of the concept of organization in both biological science and philosophy of biology. It also deals with a variety of themes – including evolution, organogenesis, heredity, cognition and ecology – (...)
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  8. Biological Organization and Cross-Generation Functions.Cristian Saborido, Matteo Mossio & Alvaro Moreno - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):583-606.
    The organizational account of biological functions interprets functions as contributions of a trait to the maintenance of the organization that, in turn, maintains the trait. As has been recently argued, however, the account seems unable to provide a unified grounding for both intra- and cross-generation functions, since the latter do not contribute to the maintenance of the same organization which produces them. To face this ‘ontological problem’, a splitting account has been proposed, according to which the two kinds of functions (...)
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  9.  71
    Organisational closure in biological organisms.Matteo Mossio & Alvaro Moreno - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.
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  10. Emergence, Closure and Inter-level Causation in Biological Systems.Matteo Mossio, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):153-178.
    In this paper, we advocate the idea that an adequate explanation of biological systems requires appealing to organizational closure as an emergent causal regime. We first develop a theoretical justification of emergence in terms of relatedness, by arguing that configurations, because of the relatedness among their constituents, possess ontologically irreducible properties, providing them with distinctive causal powers. We then focus on those emergent causal powers exerted as constraints, and we claim that biological systems crucially differ from other natural systems in (...)
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  11.  26
    Functions, Organization and Etiology: A Reply to Artiga and Martinez.Cristian Saborido & Matteo Mossio - 2016 - Acta Biotheoretica 64 (3):263-275.
    We reply to Artiga and Martinez’s claim according to which the organizational account of cross-generation functions implies a backward looking interpretation of etiology, just as standard etiological theories of function do. We argue that Artiga and Martinez’s claim stems from a fundamental misunderstanding about the notion of “closure”, on which the organizational account relies. In particular, they incorrectly assume that the system, which is relevant for ascribing cross-generation organizational function, is the lineage. In contrast, we recall that organizational closure refers (...)
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  12.  20
    Enactivism and the Hegelian Stance on Intrinsic Purposiveness.Andrea Gambarotto & Matteo Mossio - 2022 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 23 (1):155-177.
    We characterize Hegel’s stance on biological purposiveness as consisting in a twofold move, which conceives organisms as intrinsically purposive natural systems and focuses on their behavioral and cognitive abilities. We submit that a Hegelian stance is at play in enactivism, the branch of the contemporary theory of biological autonomy devoted to the study of cognition and the mind. What is at stake in the Hegelian stance is the elaboration of a naturalized, although non-reductive, understanding of natural purposiveness.
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  13. Constraint.Jon Umerez & Matteo Mossio - 2013 - In W. Dubitzky O. Wolkenhauer & K. Cho H. Yokota (eds.), Encyclopedia of Systems Biology. Springer. pp. 490-493.
  14.  41
    What is Agency? A View from Autonomy Theory.Louis Virenque & Matteo Mossio - 2024 - Biological Theory 19 (1):11-15.
    The theory of biological autonomy provides a naturalized characterization of agency, understood as a general biological phenomenon that extends beyond the domain of intentionality and causation by mental states. Agency refers to the capacity of autonomous living beings (roughly speaking: organisms) to purposively and functionally control the interactions with the environment, and to adaptively modulate their own self-determining organization and behavior so as to maintain their own existence, construed as their intrinsic telos. We mention some crucial strengths of the autonomist (...)
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  15.  38
    Action-dependent perceptual invariants: From ecological to sensorimotor approaches.Matteo Mossio & Dario Taraborelli - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (4):1324-1340.
    Ecological and sensorimotor theories of perception build on the notion of action-dependent invariants as the basic structures underlying perceptual capacities. In this paper we contrast the assumptions these theories make on the nature of perceptual information modulated by action. By focusing on the question, how movement specifies perceptual information, we show that ecological and sensorimotor theories endorse substantially different views about the role of action in perception. In particular we argue that ecological invariants are characterized with reference to transformations produced (...)
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  16.  13
    The genotype–phenotype distinction: from Mendelian genetics to 21st century biology.Gaëlle Pontarotti, Matteo Mossio & Arnaud Pocheville - unknown
    The Genotype-Phenotype (G-P) distinction was proposed in the context of Mendelian genetics, in the wake of late 19th century studies about heredity. In this paper, we provide a conceptual analysis that highlights that the G-P distinction was grounded on three pillars: observability, transmissibility, and causality. Originally, the genotype is the non-observable and transmissible cause of the phenotype, which is its observable and non-transmissible effect. We argue that the current developments of biology have called the validity of such pillars into question. (...)
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  17.  33
    Closure, causal.Matteo Mossio - 2013 - In W. Dubitzky O. Wolkenhauer & K. Cho H. Yokota (eds.), Encyclopedia of Systems Biology. Springer. pp. 415-418.
  18.  58
    On the relation between the enactive and the sensorimotor approach to perception.Dario Taraborelli & Matteo Mossio - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (4):1343-1344.
    In Mossio & Taraborelli (2008) we challenged the assumption according to which the ecological and sensorimotor approaches are mere conceptual variations on the same enactive theme. We showed, on the contrary, that they endorse substantially different notions of an 'action-dependent perceptual invariant' and we submitted that this distinction has interesting theoretical and empirical implications. This dissimilarity between ecological and sensorimotor theories stems, in our view, from a more fundamental divergence on the nature of perceptual information. Since Gibson's work, the ecological (...)
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  19. On the Role of Constraints in the Emergence of Biological Organization.Leonardo Bich, Matteo Mossio & Alvaro Moreno - unknown
     
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  20.  5
    Introduction: Organization as a Scientific Blind Spot.Matteo Mossio - 2023 - In Organization in Biology. Springer. pp. 1-22.
    For most of the twentieth century, biology forgot or largely neglected organization. By this term, I mean a certain mode of interaction among the parts of a system, which is by hypothesis distinctively realized by biological systems. While a systemic trend is progressively pervading various biological fields – notably Evolutionary Biology, Systems Biology and Origins of Life – I suggest that organization still remains a blind spot of biological thinking. Therefore, I submit, biology should be enriched by an explicit and (...)
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  21. In search of conceptual bridges: a review of Krohs, U. & Kroes, P. "Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds".Cristian Saborido, Matteo Mossio & Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo - 2010 - Artificial Life 16 (4):337-340.
     
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  22. La dimensión teleologica del concepto de función biológica.Cristian Saborido, Matteo Mossio & Alvaro Moreno - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):31-56.
    Most of current theoretical analyses on biological functions can be classified as etiological or dispositional, depending on how they deal with the teleological dimension. In this paper, we propose a critical survey of these two perspectives, and we argue that some recent studies have set the basis of a new approach which grounds the teleological dimension of functional attributions in the organizational properties of living systems. We outline a new proposal within this new approach, based on an interpretation of living (...)
     
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  23.  17
    Can a 50 cents reward really choke working memory maintenance process?Manuel Vidal & Matteo Mossio - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (2):363-365.