Felipe Veloso

My research interests lie in theoretical biology, specifically one of the big unsolved problems in biology: the emergence of the teleological or “end-directed” dynamics that govern and distinguish living systems from an otherwise inanimate Universe.

Modern science rejects traditional concepts of teleology because they are either unscientific or logically inconsistent. Yet, at any level of complexity, we require intrinsically teleological terms (function, regulation, courtship, planning, etc.) for all our scientific output to make any biological sense at all. In the last years, I and other theorists have argued that (a) explaining teleology away with the traditional mechanistic or “substrate-based” approach is a fundamental impossibility and (b) teleology can be explained scientifically, but only in terms of constraints—understood as local and level-of-scale-specific thermodynamic boundary conditions.

Specifically, my theoretical approach is one based on the synergistic coupling of constraints generated by dissipative thermodynamic systems. The result is an emergent higher-order constraint or teleodynamic system, a concept pioneered in the early 2010s by Terrence Deacon at UC Berkeley.

Contact Felipe at felipe “dot” veloso [at] ronininstitute /dot/ org