The Universal Principle of Biology: Determinism, Quantum Physics and Spontaneity

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For the last four centuries, physics became the pre-eminent natural science. Now it is widely believed that biology will replace physics in prominence. However, systematic efforts to develop a science of theoretical biology on a par with modern theoretical physics in depth and explanatory power have failed. In this paper, we introduce the most promising effort to achieve a fundamental theory of biology, the framework of Ervin Bauer, which includes three requirements for life. The universal principle of biology, which is Bauer's principle, is introduced and presented in mathematical form. Because he was able to derive all fundamental life phenomena from this single principle, we propose that Bauer's principle is the first and foundational principle of biology. It can play a central role in biology similar to the one played in physics by the least action principle. We posit that this new picture will open the possibility to achieve an exact theoretical biology. Expanding the conceptual framework of theoretical physics in the most suitable way that is necessary and sufficient for an exact theoretical biology is a challenging task. We also clarify some significant conceptual difficulties of Bauer's requirements in the context of modern biology, and we fundamentally connect Bauer's theory to quantum physics. In conclusion, we strongly believe that the only version of modern theoretical biology capable of following in the footsteps of modern physics is Bauer's theory.


This article was originally published in NeuroQuantology, volume 12, issue 3, in 2014.


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