The World Is Not a Theorem.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Entropy (Basel)


washington; seattle; isb


The evolution of the biosphere unfolds as a luxuriant generative process of new living forms and functions. Organisms adapt to their environment, exploit novel opportunities that are created in this continuous blooming dynamics. Affordances play a fundamental role in the evolution of the biosphere, for organisms can exploit them for new morphological and behavioral adaptations achieved by heritable variations and selection. This way, the opportunities offered by affordances are then actualized as ever novel adaptations. In this paper, we maintain that affordances elude a formalization that relies on set theory: we argue that it is not possible to apply set theory to affordances; therefore, we cannot devise a set-based mathematical theory to deduce the diachronic evolution of the biosphere.


Institute for Systems Biology