Fundamental Questions

What is the nature of life? What distinguishes living systems from those that appear equally complex but we do not call living? What is the basic unit of biology – is it the species, or the gene, or the individual?

What is the nature of cognition? Is it pure abstract thought, or is it intimately connected to our bodily structures? Are our cognitions, our descriptions of the world, reflections of an independent reality or constructions of ourselves, the observer? Is there an independent reality at all, and if there is can we interact with it?

What is the nature of social reality? Are we unwitting participants in supraindividual systems that are autonomous and beyond our control? How can we deal with self-reference and contradictions it appears to create?

Thanks to John Mingers to start his book with these questions.