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Biology is the science of life, yet Biology still has not achieved generally acceptable answers to its foundation questions, “What is life?”, “What does it mean to be living?”, What is the meaning of life?
Dr Hall first confronted these questions teaching biology courses in 1966. The search for comprehensive and scientifically justifiable answers has guided his work since then. His answers unify key ideas from a number of quite disparate disciplines. The keystone unifies Karl Popper’s 1972 and later works on evolutionary theory of knowledge with Maturana and Varela’s ideas from the 1970s on autopoiesis and cognition that set out a collection of traits that defined life. The unification shows that knowledge is solutions to problems. Life is impossible without knowledge. Knowledge is a product of living. The unification is supported by an understanding of the heritability of objective and subjective knowledge (genetic, cultural) and the theory of hierarchically dynamic systems developed by Herbert Simon, Arthur Koestler, Stanley Salthe, and others. The structure rests on foundation theories of emergent complexity including physical dynamics and thermodynamics, Stuart Kauffman’s ideas on the origins of order and his concept of the “adjacent possible” together with the nature of time in George Ellis’s “block-” or “crystallizing block universes”.
Dr Hall started life as an amateur naturalist. He started college in 1957 in physics but dyslexia with numbers led to him starting over in zoology. He completed his Harvard University PhD at the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1973 on a study of chromosome variation, evolution and speciation in lizards. As a University of Melbourne Research Fellow in Genetics from mid 1977 to mid 1979, he studied the theory of knowledge as it applied to comparative biology and evolution.
Back in Australia in 1981, Dr Hall found the rapidly evolving technology of personal computing. After an excursion into computer literacy journalism, he worked as a technical communicator and documentation specialist in a computer software house and the original Bank of Melbourne. From 1990 through mid 2007, he served Tenix Defence as a documentation and knowledge management systems analyst, retiring in 2007. From 2001 Bill has combined his diverse experiences into a unified theory of organization and organizational knowledge as presented in several academic papers and a draft book on the co-evolution of and revolutions in human cognition and humanity’s cognitive tools. This talk presents one of the
threads from his book and publications.
Reading: Hall, W.P. 2011. Physical basis for the emergence of autopoiesis, cognition and knowledge. Kororoit Institute Working Papers No. 2: 1-63 -
A presentation, progress draft and other products of “Application Holy Wars or a New Reformation: A Fugue on the Theory of Knowledge” can be accessed on http://tinyurl