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HierarchyPerspectives for Ecological Complexity$
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T. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. Starr

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226489544

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 February 2020

Functional and Structural Boundaries

Functional and Structural Boundaries

(p.165) Chapter Six Functional and Structural Boundaries

T.F.H. Allen

Thomas B. Starr

University of Chicago Press

There is a distinction between spatial and temporal boundaries. Enzymes, with distinctly faster reaction rates separated living systems in a temporal domain before there were spatial cell membranes. Death is a matter of relative reaction rates. Surfaces slow communication in space in a large ratio of change in time to space,big changes in rates across small spaces. Meanwhile channels facilitate communication in a small ratio of time differences across a large space. Hierarchies manifest only near-decomposability, allowing weaker communication between upper level structures to occupy higher levels. Boundaries obscure the functioning of lower level processes, e.g. the IRS does not know if you did your taxes with pencil and paper or a computer. Life is radically reorganized by the placement of surfaces in endosymbiosis. Life is a complex of electrical chemical organization set in a defined spatial context. There are subtle boundaries involved.

Keywords:   communication channel, endosymbiosis, evolution, near-decomposability, spatial boundary, surface, temporal boundary

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