Biocivilisations: A New Look at the Science of Life (Paperback)
"A brilliant book that] shows a way out of the destructive trap of Anthropocentric arrogance."--Vandana Shiva, author of Terra Viva
"An unusually thought-provoking and ambitious book."--Dr. James A. Shapiro, author of Evolution: A View from the 21st Century
Biocivilisations is an important, original rethinking of the mystery of life and its deep uncertainty, exploring the complex civilisations that existed on Earth long before humans.
What is life? Many scientists believe life can be reduced to 'mechanistic' factors, such as genes and information codes. Yet there is a growing army of scientists, philosophers and artists who reject this view. The gene metaphor is not only too simplistic but deeply misleading. If there is a way to reduce life to a single principle, that principle must acknowledge the creativity of life, turning genetic determinism on its head.
The term biocivilisations is the acknowledgement of this uncertainty of life, as opposed to a quasi-certainty of the human position governed by a narrow time window of the scientific revolution. Life existed without humans for more than 99.99 percent of the Earth's existence. Life will also continue without humans long after our inevitable extinction.
In Biocivilisations, Dr Predrag Slijepčevic shows how bacteria, amoebas, plants, insects, birds, whales, elephants and countless other species not only preceded human beings but demonstrate elements of how we celebrate human civilisation - complex communication, agriculture, science, art, medicine and more.
Humans must try to adopt this wisdom from other biocivilisations that have long preceded our own. By rethinking the current scientific paradigm, Dr Slijepčevic makes clear that a transformation - from a na ve young species into a more mature species in tune with its surroundings - will save us from our own violence and the violence we inflict on the rest of our living planet.
"Read this book if you would like to understand the intelligence of living systems."--Dr Denis Noble, University of Oxford
About the Author
Predrag B. Slijepčevic is a senior lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at Brunel University London. He is bio-scientist interested in the philosophy of biology. In particular, Predrag investigates how biological systems, from bacteria to animals and beyond, perceive and process environmental stimuli (that is, biological information) and how this processing, which is a form of natural learning, affects the organism-environment interactions. He aims to identify those elements in the organization of biological systems that lead to forms of natural epistemology, or biological intelligence, that might qualify those systems as cognitive agents. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals across all areas of this book. Biocivilisations is his first book. Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental thinker and activist, a leader in the International Forum on Globalisation, and of the Slow Food Movement. Director of Navdanya and of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and a tireless crusader for farmers', peasants', and women's rights, she is the author and editor of a score of influential books, among them Oneness vs. the 1%; Making Peace with the Earth; Soil Not Oil; Globalization's New Wars; Seed Sovereignty, Food Security: Women in the Vanguard; and Who Really Feeds the World? Shiva is the recipient of over twenty international awards, including the Right Livelihood Award (1993); the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic (1998); the Horizon 3000 Award (Austria, 2001); the John Lennon-Yoko Ono Grant for Peace (2008); the Save the World Award (2009); the Sydney Peace Prize (2010); the Calgary Peace Prize (2011); and the Thomas Merton Award (2011). She was the Fukuoka Grand Prize Laureate in 2012.